Location: Westbury Street, St Kilda East
Completion: April 2013 (Stage 1)
Christian Brothers College (CBC) St Kilda is an inner city (Port Phillip) secondary boys School. The brief was to create an environment to foster best practice in boys education and specifically a fidelity to Edmund Rice Chrism.
The redevelopment focused on energising underutilised school spaces and the creation of meaningful connections with the surrounding public domain. We believe the upgrade contributes not only to the school but to the pedestrian walkway along Westbury Street and visitors to Alma Park. The project uses a series of interlinking architectural and urban art strategies to create engaging environments for the school and local community. The schools public presence is now celebrated as a result of the design initiatives.
A hidden, dreary undercroft and enclosed recreational facilities were transformed into vibrant and flexible spaces. The design of the central spine also activates spaces that were stagnant and transient.
Urban school campuses are generally space poor. The reconfigured internal layout created additional spaces without increasing the building footprint providing a valuable hub for students in place of a thoroughfare.
Design inspiration emerged from the notion of a traditional “piazza”, stained glass patterns found in churches and the 3-star school logo.
Overt references to artist Felice Varini to generate patternmaking and optical illusions informed the connections between geometric forms throughout the courtyard spine, glazing frames, seating + paving, and created an active experience in what has been a transient space. Colours inspired by the Australian landscape, and the flow between building elements and the surrounding parkland represent a triumph of interlinking architectural and urban art strategies to create inviting spaces that people want to engage with.
Photography - Jaime Diaz-Berrio