The “overstretched” Mosman High School is set for some major building works, with Woods Bagot preparing designs for a four-storey multi-purpose building that will expand its capacity by 100 students.
Source: Architecture AU
Enrolments to the school in the harbourside suburb have already exceed capacity, according to School Infrastructure NSW, and the new building is needed to meet growth demands by 2031.
Woods Bagot’s design incorporates new spaces for performing arts, including a new theatre, along with science teaching spaces, a library, rooftop games court and outdoor learning spaces. Black Beetle is the landscape architect for the project, which will include a newly landscaped courtyard and rooftop.
In total the new building will have capacity for 1,200 students, compared to the 1,116 students currently attending the school.
“The proposed built form sits within a conservation area and the rich heritage of Military Road, respecting the scale and materials of its context,” writes Woods Bagot in planning documents.
“The form of the scheme aims to provide a new entrance in the safer, more pedestrian environment of Belmont Road, which creates a protective built perimeter to enclose a central courtyard environment. This enhances the civic and heritage forms while providing a secure and noise and pollution-mitigating environment that expands the existing play space within.”
The existing Military Road setback will be retained, meaning most of the existing trees on that edge will also be retained, while the building’s predominant parapet height has been designed to align with the eaves of the school’s historic Arts Building as well as the parapets of the retail buildings on the opposite side of Military Road. The upper levels, which will contain the library, rooftop terraces and games court, will be set back to maintain views of the sky from Military Road.
In terms of pedagogical considerations, the scheme aims at a mix of open plan learning environments and more traditional enclosed classrooms organized into “learning neighbourhoods” focused on specific subject areas. Each learning neighbourhood will form a “wing” of the building.
“Facing the courtyard, the rich mix of uses is revealed, through the hall and its garage style doors, and the theatre acting as a ‘jewel’ being the prominent feature of the courtyard,” writes Woods Bagot. “The courtyard facing facades feature covered open walkways that continue the circulation character of the existing school, while engaging the central courtyard.”
A new “arts courtyard” will be formed between the new hall and the existing Arts Building conceived as a lively events space spilling out from the hall.
The project will see the total demolition of two existing buildings, and the partial demolition of another.