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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Australian Technical College, Sunshine, Victoria, Australia

ATC provides a colourful beacon for vocational training

The recently completed Australian Technical College (ATC) in Sunshine, Victoria provides a new and innovative model for technical trade training facilities in Australia. The project team’s challenge was to design a purpose built school for a specific student demographic whilst maintaining maximum flexibility of use within the confines of a tight government budget. The design brief was to accommodate up to 350 students studying year 11 & 12 with an emphasis on trade based subjects including automotive, construction and engineering.

This vibrant and playful building has become a successful marketing tool in the school’s challenge to attract students, while the robust industrial aesthetic celebrates the history of the area and reflects the trade courses offered at the school.

Located in the flat, dry inland suburbs of Melbourne, ATC Sunshine incorporates best practice passive design princples. The building is naturally ventilated (no air-conditioning) and incorporates an underground earth canal to bring tempered air into the building. The abundance of natural light through roof skylights minimises the need for artifical light.

Student participation in the building’s construction process was encouraged, with subcontractors taking on school apprenticeship students and interior furnishing projects being incorporated into the curriculum. This project embodies a wholistic approach to design, not often seen in public school buildings in Australia. From the exterior architectural expression to the smallest joinery detail, the designers have sought to capture the imagination and engage the staff and students in their built environment.
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