Our Lady of La Vang Special School
Flinders Park, Adelaide
Catholic Education SA
Year of completion:
Our Lady of La Vang displays a series of innovative features that are unique within the realm of Special Schools with architectural elements to create an outstanding environment for the particular challenges encountered in the learning journey for attending staff and students. However,the environment does not distinguish itself as being outside the ‘mainstream’ and the School does not use the word ‘Special’ in its title for a reason. Inheriting an existing site with existing buildings, we recycled what could be adapted as the first significant step in creating a sustainable school.
Conversion of the existing two storey building into an administration centre with staff facilities and student resource centre created the central landmark for the site. However, as a design concept, we consciously avoided any reference to iconic or landmark building features; instead focusing on low scale, delicate canopies punctuated by textured brick projections that evoke residential familiarity. A “home away from home” for students. The briefed spaces and functionality were only achievable on the tight site through ingenious planning that maximised the fluid connection between internal and external spaces through transition zones. The range, size and location of these transition spaces are indeed the ‘landmark’ features of this site and provide staff and students with another layer of learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom and playground.