The project was to convert an existing industrial building to a learning space for Alesco at WEA Illawarra. Alesco is a national affiliation providing an alternative education option for secondary students that don’t fit easily into the high school system. Edmiston Jones assisted Alesco in successfully applying for a grant in the 2015 round of Capital Works funding for Australian Independent Schools (AIS).
The Solution / Outcome
The refurbished factory enables the senior school to have their own defined space and will cater for the projected growth in student numbers. The building incorporates flexible learning spaces, facilities to teach basic cooking skills, external meeting/ recreation areas as well as administrative spaces. A lift allows access between all levels of the existing building.The project provided an opportunity for EJ to implement our co-design methodology. Teachers and students were actively engaged in the design process from the outset of the project. Cognitive mapping tools including hexamaps asking “who, what, why” were used to get a detailed understanding of a ‘day in the life’ of the non-school and establish the brief. End user engagement continued as the design was developed.
David Fuller, CEO of WEA Illawarra, commented at a recent forum that, “the outcome (of the co-design process) for me is probably more of a mental outcome, than a physical outcome – it is one of ownership of the space. Because (the students and teachers) are being involved in the process you are taken with respect as a genuine stakeholder. No matter what the outcome is physically, you will find it more useful. ... what we will end up with is a shell which hopefully the students will be able to make their own - be able to do murals themselves, move things around and feel comfortable.”