At the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Tasmanian Awards for Excellence held on Friday 12 November, Xsquared Architects Associate Erin Rockliffe was successful in the Contribution to Design category for her role in the design of the Moonah Primary School Kindergarten.
The Contribution to Design Award recognises women who have made a significant contribution to the design of a project that has reached practical completion. Criteria include the application of sound design principles and exceptional design outcomes, and any innovation applied.
The Moonah Primary School site is in a tight urban location, bordered by industrial sites on all sides. There is minimum open space, except for the school oval. It was important that students didn’t lose their large green space, so the new Kindergarten was located close to the existing buildings and the school’s proud kitchen garden.
Two classrooms provide a contemporary learning environment with improved access, natural light and connectivity to the outdoor spaces. The classrooms have a strong relationship to the playground, facing the central school play area. Sun floods this area in the first half of the day. Kinder students can feel part of the main activity of the school yard whilst being safely contained. As the landscape and plants mature, the boundary between the kinder playground and kitchen garden will become blurred, further connecting the Kinder students to the important kitchen garden.
To ensure the Kindergarten was appropriately located, Xsquared Architects worked with the school to undertake a whole of site masterplan. This included moving the Launching into Learning (LIL) program to the adjacent teaching space so LIL children and parents can utilise the Kindergarten play areas. As part of the masterplanning process, it was identified that a ‘new’ main entry was needed with the Kindergarten nearby. In the masterplan the adjacent weatherboard building will be demolished, and a new administration centre and prep /1 classrooms are planned.
One exceptional and innovative design outcome was the integration of public art into the built fabric via a ‘woven’ brick wall on the southern public façade of the Kindergarten. As a government funded project, a portion of the budget must be used for public art. The idea to ‘build the art in’ was conceived early on and adopted by the project team. Through a dedicated team effort, this was retained, even when budget constraints put pressure on the concept.
Artist Jackson Wells works with building materials and augmented reality software to allow complicated designs to be built. This blend of cutting-edge technology with a traditional brick was the perfect art for Moonah Primary School. Called ‘interlace’, the woven feel to the brickworks represents the woven Moonah Primary School community.