VISION Issue 48 - Page 15

15 What conversations did you have with the staff and students? Preparation extended for a number of years before we had the funds to develop the school. The conversations were not only with the teachers and the students, but the parish. This is a parish project. It’s greater than just the school. It entwines all of those aspects and involved parents as well. The conversations were around what this school meant to the parish. We had to provide some tangible links to what that was and it was around the idea of the village that raises a child. That grew into a tree and a seedling that you nurtured and that becomes a tree. There’s some really lovely playful elements within the building that are sophisticated. They cater for the child, but they’re not child-like. They’re quite lovely. So we’ve got tree houses that you can learn in. There’s a tree structure in the building. There are some other aspects, obviously it’s a Catholic school, so we had to make some tangible links to the Christian faith and did so through the use of coloured glass. We took some cues from Corbusier’s Ronchamp with the beautiful natural play of light within the internal spaces. The coloured glazing links back to the stained glass of the chapel. Any other design drivers? We identified the school’s needs to deliver spaces that told a story. It’s not just a space for learning, it’s a story about the school, the building, the way the building works and an example of a tree-house. Seated within a tree that envelops the double-story volume. There are little, nest-like, spaces for quiet reading and another area to perch, break out and enjoy collaborative learning with small groups of students.