At Golden Square Primary School, the students can take satisfaction in knowing they had a hand in the design of their surrounds.
Following the 2009 merger of Maple Street Primary School and the original Golden Square Primary School, K2LD Architects were commissioned to design a new campus that would help bring the two student bodies together in a seamless transition.
To come up with the right concept, the architects decided to turn to the students for inspiration and, after a lot of sketching, it was collectively decided the new school should resemble a treehouse.
Situated on Maple Street in Bendigo, the new school campus was completed in June last year, with a formal opening ceremony performed last Friday.
“Children are particularly sensitive to change, so we felt involving them in this process from the beginning would ease the transition and foster a sense of ownership over their new school,” said Golden Square Primary Principal, Barry Goode.
For K2LD Architects, this meant extensive consultation with the school community in order to create an environment in which the two former schools could be united.
“Our sessions with the students, teachers, parents and wider community allowed us to gain an appreciation for the internal dynamics at play and tailor a solution in which each group’s specific concerns were addressed and priorities met in a single expression that is at once practical and playful,” said K2LD Principal, Tisha Lee.
“We were amazed at the intensity and passion of the children; their ideas blew us away and the resulting ‘treehouse’ theme didn’t require any art of suggestion from our end, it was absolutely their own concept.”
The new school’s masterplan consists of a central administration and specialist building that houses reception, office, art, library and staff facilitiies, which is then flanked by two double storey buildings, containing four ‘learning communities’.
These learning communities includes four homerooms clustered around a central collaborative space, with additional staff resources and meeting rooms in each.
The two storey nature of the school buildings allows for a greater student capacity than was available previously, and also plays into the treehouse concept envisaged by the students.
“The added height feeds into our treehouse concept, allowing us to get creative with ‘trunk’ and ‘canopy’ inspired levels, whilst the withdrawal spaces offered an opportunity to create play ‘cubby’ spaces,” Lee said.