M3 designs ‘open plan’ school on Sunshine Coast

A new primary school campus planned for the Sunshine Coast will replace traditional classrooms with open plan environments to suit a “team-teaching” model, according to the school.

Designed by M3 Architecture for the Suncoast Christian College, the new building will accommodate years 1 through 6, with the students split into three cohorts. Each cohort will be taught by a team of six teachers and teachers’ aides in a dedicated, open-plan space over two levels.

A tiered seating area in each of these open spaces will connect the two levels, providing a whole-group meeting place and allowing students to move between floors. Each cohort has its own maker space and kitchen, while an art room and performing arts space service the whole primary school.

M3 Architecture director Ben Vielle said the design responds to the location on reclaimed farming land, the climate and the school’s legacy. Founded in 1979 as the Suncoast Christian Academy, the school’s first building was an old pineapple packing shed. “Suncoast was founded on the idea of minimal means, with a focus on child development, wellbeing and community,” Vielle said. “We have respected and developed this ethos. The architecture takes its cues from an agricultural attitude and responds to the educational approach.”

Suncoast Christian College building by M3 Architecture.

The building will be wrapped in a steel mesh, allowing maximum ventilation and light penetration through to the verandahs, while keeping students safe.

The open teaching spaces will be zoned and furnished to allow for multiple teaching modes, allowing teachers to tailor lessons to the abilities and learning styles of individual students.

The school’s principal Greg Mattiske said team teaching delivers the best social, emotional and academic outcomes for students. “Today’s students have diverse needs,” he said. “It’s too much for one teacher to have the burden of trying to be all things to all people.”

The school said the project was about to go to tender. “…this project has gone way beyond our expectations,” said Mattiske. “I want kids, staff and parents to come to the school and feel excited about this facility, and what M3 has done with the design is absolutely that.”

Source: Architecture - architectureau

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