All Hale the world leading junior school design

Hale School’s new state-of-the-art junior school at Wembley Downs has won the coveted People’s Choice Award in the internationally recognised Shaw Design Awards.

The new junior school opened for business in November 2018. Photo: Dion Robeson.

The awards are in their fourteenth year and celebrate the most uniquely impactful designs from around the world.

There were 700 submissions from more than 32 countries competing for recognition.

Thirty eight different winners were selected from categories including ‘Small Office’, ‘Senior Living’, ‘Healthcare’, ‘Mid-Sized Office’, ‘Education’, ‘Public Space’, ‘Retail’, ‘Hospitality’, and ‘Large Office’.

The school has plenty of open areas, including this playground as the centrepiece. Photo: Matthew Craig.

These category winners were automatically entered into a voting poll online, from which Hale junior school was voted the People’s Choice winner.

The award winning design was competing against structures from the prestigious Caltech University in California, a state-of-the-art medical centre in New York and Australia’s Frankston primary school among others.

The junior school was designed by West Australian-based SITE Architecture Studio and was officially opened in November 2018.

An original sketch of the junior school design. Photo: SITE.

Two representatives from the firm have been invited to attend Art Basel Miami 2019.

SITE’s senior designer Naomi McCabe says they drew on elements from the history of Hale when creating their design.

A look inside the open learning environment at Hale’s new junior school. Photo: Matthew Craig.

“The architecture takes cues from the brick history of the school by creating foundations from which new pathways emerge, referenced through the use of patterned brickwork.

Although the buildings have changed, the traditional values and foundation of the school remain,” she says.

The old brick design still isn’t lost in the new building. Photo: Matthew Craig.

SITE Architecture Studio Directors Stephen Hart and Paul Edwards worked closely with the project as design directors.

They say the design was carefully constructed to help young boys learn both inside the classroom and out, with an emphasis on preserving the nature surrounding the school grounds.

“SITE worked to retain existing trees in formal and informal landscapes that support and encourage curiosity and boy responsive education.”

The school has been built around Hale’s rich environment. Photo: Matthew Craig.

The $16 million redevelopment has been hailed as a huge success by Hale junior school principal Alex Cameron.

Given the original building was 50 years old, he says it was outdated and due an upgrade.

“The four C’s are critical to 21st century learning. Critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication. We wanted a design that not only brought our school up to modern standards, but was flexible enough to keep up with modern day learning for years to come.”

Hale’s junior school is just a stone’s throw away from Fowler Oval. Photo: Matthew Craig.

Mr Cameron says the ideas behind the junior school shouldn’t be restricted to primary school education.

“We have even had senior school designers come by and see the work that has been done. These ideas can be used anywhere from primary schools, high schools to tertiary education as well.”

The school has won multiple architectural awards. Photo: Matthew Craig.

The project also won the award for Education Architecture in Western Australia for 2019.