Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

Australian Science and Mathematics School, Bedford Park, South Australia, Australia

Exemplary design categories: flexible learning settings, furniture, green school, science laboratories, technology rich

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
The Australian Science and Mathematics School (ASMS) is a centre for research-based teaching and learning, specialising in sciences and mathematics. Developed jointly between the Department of Education, Training and Employment and Flinders University, the school is designed to be a catalyst for advances in teacher preparation and professional development through education, business and industry partnerships using new and emerging technologies and enterprise initiatives.

It was considered important that the building design should incorporate best practice in environmentally sustainable design and intelligent building concepts. Through these concepts, the building itself is a learning tool for the school and enables students to develop an understanding of how buildings, people and the natural environment interact. The output from the building management system is linked to the school’s intranet, providing information on the performance of the building’s active and passive systems. The principal features include a state-of-the-art, mixed mode air-conditioning system integrating natural ventilation; a façade incorporating high performance “low emission” glazing and extensive shading elements; dual water reticulation to serve toilet flushing separately and enable reclaimed water to be used for this purpose; and solar boosting of hot water generation via a roof-mounted solar collector.

Critical to the school’s function is the break away from the traditional concepts of classrooms and laboratories. These have been replaced by “learning commons” and “studios”. The spaces are designed to be student centred and foster collaborative and project-based learning. The learning commons are flexible learning spaces which can accommodate one or more groups of people. Flexible furniture, ICT workstations, data projectors and speaker systems means that people can listen to a lecture, discuss ideas as a class or work in small groups, work individually, depending on the task at hand. Studios are specialized learning areas. Science, control technology, human movement, avionics and audio visual studios have been equipped with the latest learning tools. The Avionics Studio includes a Synthetic Flight Simulator.

Each student has his or her own “home-base” work station located in one of the learning commons, and the studios are fitted out with specialist services and hands-on facilities to enable students to undertake practical work and experiments which support activities in the learning commons. Flexibility is a key requirement for these areas with several studios set up in pairs with operable walls or partial partitions between to allow interconnection for larger groups. The large central common along with the social and circulation areas are used for exhibitions, assemblies and conferences.

ASMS students and staff have access to a section of Flinders University’s Library facilities and can access the full range of data bases and services. A cafeteria is provided for ASMS students by Flinders University, and students can use the gym facilities at the university.

Involvement of users and the local community in the planning and design process:
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Activity Areas: Learning commons, studio, videoconference rooms, cafe, gym, oval

Project costs: AUD 0.00

Source: 3rd CELE Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities (2006)

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Images (3)

Drawings (2)

Furniture plan, lower floor (Registration required)
image/pjpeg
Credit: Woods Bagot
Furniture plan, upper floor (Registration required)
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Credit: Woods Bagot