The new Early Learning Centre building at Canberra Girls Grammar School is an expansion to their current facilities originally designed by DJAS Architecture.
The building creates an intimate and welcoming courtyard playground space with increased protection from the prevailing winds and summer sun. The additional outdoor play space that is required for the increased number of students is provided across both levels, utilizing the external deck and verandah area, creating a mixture of covered and uncovered spaces for a variety of outdoor learning activities.
The construction approach needed to be sensitive to the requirement for the facility to remain in operation throughout the project. Through the use of prefabricated modular panels consisting of cross laminated timber (CLT) with the cladding and glazing system pre-assembled in a factory, the erection of the primary structure, facade, glazing and roof was completed within 5 days.
The building is designed for an expected building life of approximately 50 years with careful selection of materials and finishes to minimise ongoing maintenance.
The CLT panels are sourced from Australian sustainable timber and manufactured locally in Wodonga, NSW. The erection of the primary structure, facade, glazing and roof was completed within 5 days, significantly reducing the construction program.
High performance argon filled double glazing enabled the use of large windows to permit maximum natural daylight. Minimal additional insulation was required due to the natural thermal resistance of timber. The internal spaces display the natural beauty of the timber, removing the need for internal ceilings and wall linings. The expansion has had a fantastic response and received the Derek Wrigley Award for Sustainable Architecture and the Award for Educational Architecture at the 2019 ACT Architecture Awards.