You know you’re doing something right when the kids give your new school building a nickname. Affectionately known as The Minecraft Building, the Neville Bonner AO Centre at Emmanuel College on the Gold Coast is the brainchild of HHH Architects.
“They were looking to almost redefine the brand of the school,” says Alan Hayes, Partner and Director at HHH Architects. It’s that vision that has seen some big-thinking design inclusions, like massive windows that soar seven-metres-high and afford a breathtaking view across the college’s sports field. To ensure the ambitious window and glazing goals were met, the architects worked closely with local fabricators, Suburban Windows.
According to Alan, “You’re almost doing what you shouldn’t do, in the sense of having this very large, glazed expanse facing west. That’s why you’ll see there are very large fins on the outside of those windows to break them up. It became critical that the mullions of the windows married together with all of that and then the windows themselves have got two layers of solar-controlled blinds.”
To connect the classrooms, the designers opted for AWS Elevate Series 50 sliding glass doors. For a bit of fun, they also included little pop-out windows that face the oval and link the students to the outside.
“Winston Churchill famously said once that we shape our buildings, thereafter our buildings shape us. He was talking about the houses of Parliament and democracy, but the same thing is true, I think, of architecture generally and very much of educational architecture in particular. If you’ve got light and bright and welcoming spaces, then children are going to enjoy coming to school!”
Fabricator: Suburban Windows
Architect: HHH Architects
Photographer: Scott Shirley