Victoria’s first vertical school coming soon to Melbourne.

Melbourne-based architecture firm, Hayball, is set to build “Victoria’s first vertical school”.

South Melbourne Primary School will be five storeys tall and have no formal classrooms for its prospective 525 students to learn in.


The building’s sustainable design will incorporate a number of energy efficient elements which aim to reduce its environmental footprint.

North-facing windows for natural ventilation, full filtered air-conditioning, solar panels, LED lighting and water monitoring systems are a few of the anticipated sustainable design features.

future-south-melbourne-primary-school-australia-hayball-world-architectur-festival_dezeen_herob
The proposed building. A multilevel, contemporary ‘vertical piazza’, says architect Ann Lau. Picture: Dezeen.

Parents in the local area of South Melbourne are praising the project’s contemporary design and its plans to take a new approach to learning spaces.

“We enrolled our son to attend the school. We’ve been looking around at different schools in the area and this one really stood out to us,” local parent Toula Panopoulos said.

“We think it’s great that our son could be learning in a state-of-the-art building that will hopefully take a modern approach to education,” Ms Panopoulos said.

“We’ve been following the project’s progress on its social media pages and it’s all very exciting. It looks great.”

New Principal, Noel Creece, said that enrolments were soaring.

“I’ve been very busy, its definitely a heavy phase for enrolment,” said Mr Creece.

“There’s been a lot of interest about the school, I really appreciate it.”

The Victorian Government has committed $44 million towards the project’s development, which is anticipated to open its gates for Term 1, 2018.

Ann Lau, the project’s architect, aims to replace traditional classrooms with collaborative environments through a series of ‘learning neighbourhoods’, integrating indoor and outdoor areas.

“The densification of our city means that we also need to densify how we deal with our social infrastructure,” Ms Lau said in an interview with architecture and design magazine, Dezeen.

“Each learning neighbourhood will effectively accommodate 75 children with three teaching staff. It’s very much collaborative learning rather than didactic learning,” said Ms Lau.

“Part of the concept that’s inbuilt within this vertical hybrid school and community centre building is that the staircase and vertical connectivity become one of the main features of the building.”

Along with the opening of the school will come 30 additional parking spaces on Ferrars Street and Douglas Street.

Community engagement has also been considered by Ms Lau, with publically-accessible communal facilities located on the first two floors and the primary school on the higher storeys.

The coeducational prep to year 6 school will feature state-of-the-art facilities, including an early learning centre, a maternal health service, and several indoor and outdoor sports courts.

The South Melbourne school’s proposal was named the winner of the Future Project of the Year award at the World Architecture Festival 2016, held in Berlin.

The World Architecture Festival annually showcases the year’s finest architecture, with judges commending Ms Lau’s project for its integration of indoor and outdoor teaching areas.

Enrolments for 2018 are currently open until the end of term 3.

What do you think of this design? Let me know in the comments below.

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