Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

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Facility of the week

Northern Beaches Christian School, Terrey Hills, Australia

The school was conceived, designed and constructed around a vision of creating a fully flexible learning space that shifts pedagogical practice toward a collaborative inquiry based model. Spaces to expand and contract through operable walls and the differentiation of volumes within the building envelope allows a very wide range of accommodation for different group sizes and functions. These range from several hundred people in performance mode to multiple small groups of a few people in interactive/collaborative modes. The school was designed as a well-resourced and inspiring space for teachers to effectively integrate ICT into pedagogy. Specialised educators are on hand to work with teachers and to provide support and coaching through the journey of change. The building emphasises the critical importance of positive social relationships between all participants. This is achieved by the design of circulation with break-out spaces, nooks related to larger spaces and changes of scale of space. The planning recognises the importance of outside spaces and in particular the transition and link spaces between buildings where a great deal of social interaction, play and educational activity takes place. The materials, form and proportions were carefully considered to create a contemporary and progressive image for the school. The use of natural light and surrounding fenestration creates connectivity with the external environment that encourages a sense of integration with the natural world. External colours are muted silver, greys and blues with flashes of colour in the windows reflecting those seen in the Australian natural environment. The building incorporates contemporary environmentally sustainable design principles throughout, with fully automated mixed mode ventilation systems, recycled and low carbon footprint material use and high efficiency low energy use. The building fabric and operation itself works as an educational tool.
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About this database

The OECD Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) launched the “Database of Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investment” on 29 September 2011. It seeks to inform the planning, design, construction, management and evaluation of educational spaces, combining resources for strategic investment in educational infrastructure, with exemplary school and university facilities from all over the world.

Drawing on the output of a joint CELE/European Investment Bank project on “Strategic Investment Planning for Educational Infrastructure” and more than 60 exemplary schools and universities featured in CELE’s flagship publication, “Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011”, this database is a unique international resource for educators, designers, policymakers and researchers alike.

Users of the database are encouraged to add their own resource material, or submit new completed university or school projects for publication on the database. OECD and EIB welcome your input to our project!

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The OECD Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE) presents the top 6 school and university buildings in ”Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011”.

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