Location

Launceston, Tasmania

Client

Private

Year

In Progress

Images

Cumulus

Land of

Stoney Creek Nation

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Mark Darke Building & Joinery

Jane Creese

Brierley Consulting Engineers

Praxis Environment

Past and Present Stonemasons

Southern Lighting and Distribution

and Casa Monde

Praxis Environment

Von Stieglitz Building Developments

Symmons Plains

Homestead

A new primary school in northern Tasmania creates a student journey through connected and adaptive learning spaces

Situated north of Launceston along the West Tamar Highway, Legana Primary School weaves together a series of engaging, warm, and malleable spaces — educational environments easily shaped by teachers that give students opportunities to learn in their own individual way. A continuous roofline blankets the school's sinuous design, weaving together the administrative office, library, multi-purpose hall, and fourteen General Learning Areas (or GLAs), adding a protective layer from the region’s unpredictable weather as well as a sense of connectivity throughout the campus.

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Connected through the years

The GLAs are designed for 350 students, from kindergarten to year six. These spaces, sequentially dotted around a central courtyard, create a tangible path for students to follow as they grow while also nurturing an ongoing connection to their peers. By focusing the school’s GLAs inwards to the courtyard, our design creates a secluded and secure communal space for the students to learn and interact.

 

The courtyard’s design, led by local landscape architects SBLA Studio, uses several elements to help maintain a connection between different year groups and areas, such as functional native vegetation barriers that seemingly recede into the surrounding landscape.

Playful spaces, reflective of the landscape

The school’s natural colour palette for both the exterior and interior spaces take cues from different parts of the Tamar Valley and its unique flora and fauna. The interior colours are complemented by the earthy hues of the design’s predominantly brick and metal clad facades.

 

We focussed our design on the children’s experience and created inclusive spaces. Within the GLAs, the colours are purposefully subtle, only appearing in certain interior elements — the lighting, parts of the joinery, the chairs, and couches. Lowered windows meet a child’s point of view while soft areas and textured materials on walls and floors add playful elements. Ample floor space, different seating styles, and breakout “caves” give students flexibility to choose how they want to learn and use their space.

Smart spaces

The GLAs’ flexible interior design includes a series of operable walls, allowing teachers to shape learning areas to create traditional learning spaces, open co-teaching environments, or adapt to future changes in education styles. We complemented this flexibility by the smart spine of the school, a functional wall wrapping the perimeter of the GLAs housing storage, wet areas, technology, plumbing, and integrated window seat alcoves. This ‘inhabited’ wall combines with operable wall dividers to free up the classroom’s available teaching space, which can further open up to the courtyard through large windows. 

 

Our design is a collaboration with the school’s future acting principal Samantha Abblitt, education architecture specialist Heath Clayton of Design Intent, SBLA, the Department of Education, and local communities.

LEGANA PRIMARY SCHOOL

Stripped-back Georgian heritage and specialist stonemasonry.

A sympathetic restoration shaped by modern tastes.

Contrast and balance, tradition and modernity. Just what a family home needs. We responded to Symmons Plains’ significance in Tasmania’s history while curating a contemporary home for the new custodians - a family of seven.

We aimed to reveal the richness of the stories that came before. Colonist John Arndell Youl built Symmons Plains in 1839 with a structure crafted using early Australian settlement techniques. Youl famously introduced the brown trout to Australia. His family lived at Symmons for seven generations until it was bought in 2011. When we demolished the building’s original concrete, it revealed an eclectic mix of bed springs and old fencing added for reinforcement; a history of its own. It felt exciting to arrive at an answer for open, contemporary living within a building essentially the antithesis of that.

2020

Tasmanian Architecture Awards

Colorbond Steel Architecture - Commendation

2020

Tasmanian Architecture Awards

Residential Architecture

Location

Launceston, Tasmania

Client

Private

Year

2019

Images

Anjie Blair

Land of

Stoney Creek Nation

Mark Darke Building & Joinery

Jane Creese

Brierley Consulting Engineers

Praxis Environment

Past and Present Stonemasons

Southern Lighting and Distribution

and Casa Monde

Praxis Environment

Von Stieglitz Building Developments

+

Restore, reveal, revive

To create an authentic ambience, we worked closely with Heritage Tasmania and engaged specialist British restoration stonemasons. The latter used traditional techniques to reinstate the slaked lime mortar, remedy dilapidated cement repairs and assist with the extensive exterior works. To reveal a clean, honest canvas, we also removed inconsistent extensions like the rear 1960s laundry and loggia.

Heritage that feels like home.

Our design is a response to the property’s distinctive heritage structures. Typical for early Georgian homes, Symmons Plains is stripped back, austere and utilitarian. Bespoke steel detailing  and glass insertions balance the bold masonry and reflect this simplicity of form. We used steel as a symbol to represent the transition from old to new in the mind’s eye. Visible from the outside, steel buildings contrast to the masonry. Moving inside, we echoed this with steel used for the floating staircase, balustrades and subtle shelving and benchtop details.

 

To create living, social space in this home, we connected outbuildings and the rear wing into a single consolidated structure. This transformed forgotten storage sites into open plan space that felt flowing and functional.

Create in harmony

We had to be really nimble with this project, sketching a lot of the design on site with the builder. The brief shifted and evolved over time and construction was already underway as we designed certain elements. But we had a really strong relationship with our client and felt completely aligned to their aspirations and expectations. As the son of a steel worker, our lead architect Todd felt especially proud of the bespoke steel detailing. The opportunity to use steel in that kind of way doesn’t come around too often.