Whyalla Special School Relocation, Whyalla
The design responds to the harsh, hot and arid climate of the region by utilising skillion roof forms to ensure additional northern sun and ventilation to central internal corridor spaces
The site of the Whyalla Special School comprised a mixture of semi-permanent, transportable buildings originating from the mid-1970's. As the Architect, Tectvs was given the task to start fresh on the site to create an exciting and safe learning environment. The choice to redevelop from scratch was chosen to avoid long term issues regarding the costly removal of asbestos from existing structures - and given the delicate nature of the client - enabled the project to adopt a safety-first approach. Therefore, the project brief focused on creating both a sense of place within the community and a learning environment that would allow for increased student growth. A simple, safe, cost-effective structure was required to serve as an educational gathering place for families and the community.
Responding to the needs of the context and the client was critical for the project. Tectvs adopted durable, low maintenance and residential-styled material palette throughout. This considered approach enabled improved safety for the school’s patrons and importantly allowed local trades and expertise to be used during the construction phase. The project presented Tectvs with a site that posed significant disability access issues that made it difficult to conform to the current disability requirements - as well as hindering the relationship and links between the school itself, and both the Whyalla TAFE College and the University of South Australia. Pavilion-like structures provide movement pathways and introduce shade, bringing a dialogue to the open spaces surrounding the new structures.
To create a sense of place, bricks were cleverly used as a repeatable yet decorative element. Finishes and colour selections brought indigenous aspects into the design that were extended to the surrounding landscape, embracing sustainability principles.
The school now presents itself as a striking place of learning within the community.