LIMINAL ARCHITECTURE | Jordan River Learning Federation officially opened by Premier

Posted 12 November 2012

A collaborative working relationship between Liminal Architecture, the Department of Education and the school community has resulted in an innovative, multi-faceted learning environment that encourages creativity, ownership and social interaction.

Community input and direction informed Liminal Architecture's development of the Master Plan and design of the education precinct to ensure the success of the school and community facilities. Integral to the design process were workshops led by Liminal Architecture with representatives of the school community to define and develop the nature of the facilities desired. The collaboration between the architects and the Department of Education, the Jordan River Learning Federation and the school community has created an environment conducive to learning, departing significantly from the traditional school model.

Architecture_JRLF_gym + perf arts +senior school

Photographers: Jonathan Wherret and Justin Bernhaut

Following the destruction by fire of the Bridgewater High School facilities in October 2007, Liminal Architecture was engaged to create the Master Plan and to design most of the facilities (excluding the Trade Training Centre) within the precinct, which include:

- a new Grade 9-12 Centre, aligned with the Big Picture education model, on the former Bridgewater High School site
- alterations to the existing High School building as the Grade 5-8 middle school
- a performing arts building, gymnasium, science facilities, multi-media facilities
- accommodation for other Federation partners - Trade Training Centre, Learning & Information Network Centre (LINC) and Child & Family Centre (CFC).

The senior school has been designed to achieve a 5 Star Green Star rating. Rainwater harvesting provides water to the toilets and irrigation. The roof’s surface area is designed to optimise rain water collection. Other sustainable principles include energy efficient fittings, Australian-made materials, low VOC materials, water saving fittings, natural ventilation, naturally lit interiors and modular design.  Any site excavation was used for fill. The majority of the contractors who worked on the site were from local areas. The extensive concrete panels were made within 2km of the site. The proportion and depth of the buildings allow natural light and views to all the learning areas; natural ventilation and high level windows allow for effective cross-ventilation.  All these initiatives significantly reduce the carbon impact of the buildings and landscape

The international experience of Liminal Architecture in the evolution of learning environments has provided adaptable, interconnected indoor and outdoor learning spaces facilitating social and educational encounters. The architecture of the senior school is informed by the ‘Big Picture’ model that responds to different types of learners. The micro-environments created within each school offer flexibility, a common core, connectivity and alcoves within circulation spaces providing a network of different scaled spaces that respond to personalised learning.

Cluny Addis, the Assistant Principal of the Senior School Campus, whose involvement in the redevelopment began in the early stages, endorsed the design approach, “What is most evident is the care and expertise Liminal Architecture brought to this project. Their thinking and planning around studios, hub space, advisory spaces (classrooms) and furniture for the rooms ensured our Big Picture School is an environment our students genuinely take pride in and enjoy inhabiting."

Premier Lara Giddings and Minister for Education Nick McKim’s media release can be viewed here.