Dandenong West Primary School
Dandenong West Primary School is a reconfiguration and refurbishment of an existing Heritage, traditional classroom and admin building and the provision of two new buildings. An open plan learning community building and multipurpose building both for school and community use.
Officially opened in 1925, Dandenong West Primary School is located approximately 30km south east of Melbourne city in the suburb of Dandenong. The School’s student population is culturally diverse and typically ‘newly arrived’, with many families having been in Australia for less than five years and a significant portion for less than two years. Through workshops with staff and students, it became clear that the diversity and requirements of the students inspired the teaching at Dandenong West. For the staff, it seemed that every effort was made to help the students’ transition to Australia as smooth as possible. With this in mind, the metaphor of “home and coming together” was developed and woven into creation of the new spaces for Dandenong West Primary School. The heritage building is brought back to its former glory with the removal of the annexes. The interior is reconfigured and the interior design is revamped to suite administration purposes with the addition of a new library and Art area.
The existing block E is demolished to make way for a new learning community building (Block H) to the north-west of the site. Designed to accommodate 5 classes, the new learning community building is an open and flexible learning space enhanced by a variety of support spaces including break-out spaces, collaborative spaces, staff work and resource, and toilet facilities. To the east of the heritage building the multipurpose building includes multi-purpose space, kitchen, storage area and toilets to facilitate the congregation of larger groups as well as recreational activities. The spaces are to be designed to not only serve the immediate needs of the student population, but also adapt as a community space, further strengthening community and the metaphor of coming together. Pitched roofs assist the both buildings to respond to the towering scale of the heritage building. The roof form derives from an efficient dual pitch, however manipulated to provide clerestory windows to provide additional natural light, giving the building a contemporary twist. The dominant fall across the site results in the southern façade of the heritage building being disconnected from the adjacent covered hard courts. New tiered seating is proposed at this interface to allow this space to better function as a congregation space for school assemblies as well as a gathering point for parents. To provide more direct and intuitive access to the administration and specialty facilities for students, a new DDA ramp is also proposed to be integrated into these works.