The design for Harvester College (formally Australian Technical College) required a complete rethink of a technical learning environment. The end result includes a diverse range of spaces including classrooms, learning commons, workshops, breakout spaces, lounges, retreats, cafes, a gym and a large reconfigurable assembly exhibition area. These spaces follow a street circulation around an internal landscaped courtyard connecting the different learning modes together as an educational ‘journey’.
Technical innovations include:
A naturally ventilated building with no air conditioning, Harvester College has been designed utilising passive solar design principals. Due to the deep footprint, an under floor earth canal (large hollow concrete pipe) has been installed, which brings tempered outside air into the centre of the building via slotted plywood wall panels. The building is fully double glazed and insulated.
The industrial aesthetic is amplified to create a look that engages local industry through exhibitions, sponsorship and specialist training. Additionally, the building can be locked down into three separate areas that allow for full day time operation, partial community use and after hours functions for industry. The building showcases sustainable solutions through extensive daylighting and natural ventilation via rooftop controlled ventilation.
Environmental control is supplemented by air cooling distributed via under slab duct work which provides temperature modification throughout the year. This same system allows for ‘night purge’ without the need to open windows and breach security. Heating in the staff and student lounges is supplemented by two open gas fireplaces which evoke a club or residential feel.
The project won the prestigious international World Architecture News Award for Best School 2009 and is a strong response to the evolution of learning environment.