The competition brief called for a “high-rise school” to enable Ultimo Public School to almost triple from 300 to 800 students. The architects at lacoste+stevenson had other ideas.
“Ultimo is one of Sydney’s densest suburbs and almost all the children attending the school live in an apartment. To replicate the student’s daily life experience in a high rise didn’t seem the right response”, explains Architect Thierry Lacoste. Instead, they lowered and scattered the buildings throughout the site. Space was optimised by repurposing roofs and widening thoroughfares to become play areas and break out spaces. In this way the divide between classroom and playground is dissolved and teachers are offered flexibility to spill into the outdoors.
The Ultimo Public School is one of a host of educational projects that lacoste+stevenson architects have delivered, such as the UTS Podium Extension (in partnership with DJRD and Six Degrees Architects), Blackfriars Early Learning Centre, and the French School redevelopment in Maroubra.
To share the impact of the built environment on learning, Thierry joins our panel this month alongside:
- Prof Pasi Sahlberg – Professor of Education Policy at UNSW Sydney and deputy director and research director of the Gonski Institute for Education;
- Jacqui Baker – Director of Studies, International Grammar School;
- Daisy Turnbull – Author and Director of Wellbeing at St Catherines School, Waverley.