The level of design consideration afforded to educational buildings has grown immensely in recent years, with holistic philosophies now coming into play that aim to deliver flexible, yet nurturing and attractive student environments that better encourage learning and progressive teaching methods.
A prime example of this modern educational architecture can be seen at St Bede’s Catholic College, a new school based in Chisholm, in the city of Maitland around 23 kilometres from Newcastle. Key infrastructure on the school grounds includes a recently developed open-learning cluster that does away with the traditional classroom settings of years gone.
Stages one and two of the development have been completed and are in use, with construction of the remaining two stages to begin in the coming months. The overall design comprises of four large pillars of buildings that breech across the contours of the site, with an internal circulation spine or ‘peregrine trail’ linking the four buildings, while organically adhering to the existing contours of the site.
At the heart of the design is a desire to fulfil a pedagogy-based teaching method. The project specific pedagogical approach is a future-focused learning model that empowers students to take ownership of their learning by providing an environment that is flexible, innovative and challenging, equipping them with the skills and capabilities to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
Designed by leading local architectural firm, SHAC, the St Bede’s development features extensive use of Fielders ARAMAX® both for roofing as well as to create a bespoke screen wall.
According to SHAC Director, Architect and Project Manager, Elizabeth Brown, ARAMAX® provided several solutions to both architectural and construction challenges on site.
“There are a few reasons why we chose to specify ARAMAX® for this project,” Elizabeth said.
“The long-spanning capabilities of this profile allowed us to incorporate generous roof overhangs to provide protection from weather (rain and sun) on the walkways below as well as over windows.
“The strength of ARAMAX® also means there’s less reliance on secondary structure, which reduces construction costs. There are also no concerns in fixing solar panels to the ARAMAX® roof – we know they’re more than strong enough.
“From an installation perspective it’s a profile that’s efficient to install, so we can get large sections of the building protected from the rain very quickly.”
In line with the site’s use as a progressive education centre, so too was SHAC’s ability to apply some clever and forward-thinking architectural ideas using ARAMAX®.
One such technique involved creating a twin-layered roof structure which was packed with insulation and left exposed – this provided the space with a clean and simple finish, and aligned it with other design aspects of the site, such as exposed services and the use of raw materials.
Another intelligent application of ARAMAX® was as a sculptured screen wall that was developed to shield students and teachers from the harsh Western sun when using the trail between the buildings. Of course, a certain level of sunlight would need to permeate the screen wall to provide visibility. This challenge was address by perforating the cladding.
“The structural integrity of ARAMAX® again came into play with the design of the screen wall,” Elizabeth said.
“It spans from slab edge to slab edge between levels allowing for uncomplicated fixing, its use in the western screen ties together the trail aesthetically with the building forms, it creates a strong design statement for the building and it’s also non-combustible, which satisfies the compliance requirements of the building and egress paths.
“Additionally the profile was suitable to perforate, and after considering several patterns, and reviews by wind engineers, a ‘noughts and crosses’ pattern which was ultimately selected after passing wind noise testing.
“Along with all the functionality that ARAMAX® provided as a screen wall, we were extremely pleased to use it from an aesthetic standpoint, because it allowed consistency of materials and helped anchor the overall design,” Elizabeth explained.
SHAC is a multi-disciplinary practice based out of Newcastle, and although they specialise in education projects, also work in commercial, retail, health, infrastructure, and residential sectors. Elizabeth noted that one of the other great things about this project was that it was a full team effort in the office, and that the client and consultant team were all willing to contribute to provide a world-class education building that fulfils its aim of providing the best education spaces possible for the local staff, students, parents, and community.
Fielders ARAMAX® structural cladding system is a unique V-shaped roofing profile that is bigger, bolder and deeper than conventional steel cladding profiles available on the market. The product is manufactured in standard 800mm cover width, with 700mm to 900mm cover widths available upon request.
ARAMAX® is produced on a mobile roll-former and has the unique ability to be rolled onsite anywhere in the world, reducing construction time and improving project efficiencies. Project applications include commercial buildings, residential houses, shade structures and commercial shelters.