Meadows Primary School

Year: 2007 - 2011

The value of a school is in its capacity to engage and grow young learners.  This Design demonstrates Growth in three ways:

  1. Learning spaces which have physically grown in volume from previous expectations of school buildings
  2. Space that can expand and retreat to suit the activity in progress
  3. Spaces for student and community growth

The site, formerly Meadowbank Primary School, is now home to a merged school community as part of an initiative to transform educational outcomes in Broadmeadows.

NOWarchitecture rose to the challenge to create a School to inspire and support a Community.  ‘Public’ areas within the Welcome Space and Foyer are used for community meetings and connect to a Kitchen and garden; the Courtyard, Gymnasium and Resource Centre support community events after hours; while the Learning Centres can be secured as the private domain of Students and Teachers.

A rhythmic modular form provides an inspiring school within a standard budget.  Each module comprises four internal ‘tree’ columns which branch out to a softly folded roof.  The engineering solution is a critical part of the internal aesthetic and creation of space. 

The Learning Areas below the tree canopy are landscaped with reading nooks, staff pods and mobile furniture which add value beyond the Brief by allowing spaces to rapidly adapt to different activities.  Each team teaching group is interconnected through shared support facilities such as Resources, Wet Areas and IT.

Externally, the modules create sheltered courtyards and settings for outdoor learning.  The central courtyard is a protected inner sanctum and includes extensive Kitchen Gardens.

The Gymnasium is a major community gathering space.  Its translucent walls create a naturally bright space by day and glows as a proud civic beacon by night.

Experiential learning opportunities are offered in the exposed structure; transparent downpipes make the water cycle visible; wind turbines and integrated photovoltaic panels generating 22,100 kWh/year are prominently demonstrate renewable energy sources; changing seasons are observable in the gardens and solar-calendar.

The building is registered for a Green Star Education rating, targeting a 6 star rating. 

A passive hydrothermal air conditioning developed by NOWarchitecture and tested by Flowsim provides excellent thermal comfort and air quality and reduces energy costs by 50%.  The high raking ceiling allows hot air to rise above activity spaces and exit through upper louvre windows.  As hot, stale air is expelled, fresh air which has been cooled by the sub-floor water tanks, is drawn in through floor grilles.

  • Plantation timber structures slashed financial and environmental cost
  • Gardens are substantially food producing
  • Stormwater overflow is directed through a creek bed to create a water permeable site
  • 600,000L sub-floor water tanks saved 400m3 of concrete footings
  • Low-e glazing reduces glare, heat gain and heat loss
  • Durable Limestone reverse veneer walls provide outstanding thermal mass and acoustic performance
  • LED and T5 fluorescent lighting significantly reduce power consumption

This School connects education with community and environment.  It is a place to teach, learn and support families, and will continue to grow with its community.