Latham Primary School Masterplan, ACT

client: Latham Primary School

location: Latham, ACT

completion date: 2018

role: architecture and interior design

Responding to Belconnen’s increasing population, changing demographic and the pedagogical advancements in primary school education, peckvonhartel’s masterplan provides a narrative of dynamic learning environments for Latham Primary and focuses on increasing the quality of the school’s existing facilities. Our consultation with the school’s key stakeholders including leadership, teachers and parents was essential to understanding the overall school’s functional and aspirational requirements and was reflected in the overall planning of the facility.

Our masterplan identifies three key environments within the school’s existing built form, classrooms, circulation spaces and the outdoor landscape, proposing high level concepts for each and maximising connectivity between them. Creating fluid, flexible and multi modal activity nodes throughout the school gives teachers and students permission to reconfigure each learning environment in a way that suits their activity. Classrooms provide three zones with flexible furniture progressing beyond the traditional classroom seating, to allow for different types of learning within the same environment.

“Learning Labs” are provided as shared amenities adjacent to each classroom, maximising the existing underutilised circulation spaces. The Labs extend the students’ classroom environment and encourages dialogue and collaboration with neighbouring classrooms. Both spaces are separated with operable walls, eliminating the need for additional large multipurpose spaces to accommodate assemblies. The remaining circulation spaces are transformed with curved glazing and student breakout zones that support their informal learning, disrupting an otherwise linear space.

Landscaped areas complement the internal learning environment and reflect the semi defined and organic shapes of the formal learning spaces. Feature paved areas, outdoor seating, integrated planters and soft surfaces promote discovery and encourage movement. The external north-west façade of the school’s hall is activated, linking to an outdoor amphitheatre to create opportunities for an eco-friendly learning space.

Originally designed by renowned Architect, Enrico Taglietti in 1971, the school features an iconic timber clad ceiling, which is proposed to be restored along with the overall building refurbishment. peckvonhartel actively coordinated with Taglietti to maintain and build on the original design intent. We maintained a collaborative and iterative design process, transforming Latham Primary to a place of contemporary and flexible learning opportunities.