Rossi Architects were engaged by the NT Catholic Education Office to provide a master plan for Holy Family Catholic Primary School, a popular but small school in Karama, Darwin.
Beginning with an in-depth analysis, we interrogated the school’s physical and social context, values, internal structures and vision for pedagogy. Along with this, Rossi Architects facilitated workshops with the teaching staff and steering committee.
The development of a successful master plan begins with clearly identifying the problems to solve. As with many schools, Holy Family School had evolved over time with the addition of a few new buildings which had not been considered in conjunction with one another. The result was what is all too common in schools – the contradiction of, on one hand, the feeling of a lack of available teaching and learning space, and on the other, under-utilised facilities. The problem was that the under-utilised space lacked visual connection and physical proximity to the main learning spaces.
The answer Rossi Architects developed was to create a new campus heart which would gather staff and students together into a ring of facilities connected around a large roofed plaza. By removing an unused old storeroom, connections to the playground were reinstated and the admin building was reconfigured to address the new public entry to the school. This simple switch changed the atmosphere of the school’s front entry from that of a security checkpoint to that of the threshold into a new community plaza. And with the changed centre of gravity of the school, no longer did the library feel like a forgotten corner of the school.
Along with this consideration of the large macro scale, the finer grain of the school was also assessed, with recommendations on strategies for storage, furniture settings, maintenance and building services.
Moving forward, Holy Family School is now equipped with a clear vision of 21st Century learning to implement with confidence for its future.