Christopher Frederick Jones
Westside Christian College has seen a high level of growth over the years, and the school has established an enviable creative industries program which, up until now, has been facilitated from demountable buildings within the school campus. Understandably, this provided the College with a number of challenges for staff and students alike, many of which strongly influenced the planning and design process for the new facility.
Our role as architects was to devise a master plan for the school which could not only support their current growth but also provide strategies and plans for student and facilities growth into the future. Working directly with the Creative Industries Precinct (CIP) teachers, a brief was developed to ensure the facility could meet international creative industry standards. Their brief identified collaborative spaces that could be utilised across all disciplines. The layout and program for each was strongly influenced by the teachers who, as performers themselves, could provide guidance on how these spaces could come together within the facility.
We identified the importance of creating a transparent space within the CIP which could develop a learning process through performance and feedback. This strongly influenced the design and use of spaces which created no practice areas, only performance areas. By blurring the lines between the creative mediums, we were able to create a unified experience that gave students ownership of the space to expand their creative expression. The lower level was created as the engine room for learning, practicing and refining, while the upper level was defined as a more refined performance space. Voids between the levels allow students and visitors to see the creative process in action. The high-level technology woven into the building fabric allows the students to experience collaboration and interaction similar to a university setting.