Kingaroy State High School – Flying Start Project

This new Kingaroy State High School (KSHS) building was part of the Queensland Government Flying Start programme, which introduced year 7 students into state high schools for the first time in 2015. This project was a significant addition to the KSHS campus and was seen by our practice as an opportunity to design a nurturing building for the new young cohort, while integrating it with the existing school.

We investigated a range of planning solutions outside the suggested template design that met the brief area targets while providing the best passive design solution. We promoted a range of single room thickness, north oriented plans to DETE. Our preferred solution was a ‘C’ shaped plan that offered a feeling of “opportunity and refuge” with the additional benefit of a central courtyard. This court extended the brief to provide additional external teaching and recreation spaces.

This building contains 11 general learning areas (GLA), a collaborative learning area, 2 flexible learning areas (FLAs), 2 project development areas, a staff room, amenities and an undercroft. The 3-storey building was elevated approximately 1 metre above the flood plane, which provided sub floor space for a rainwater tank farm with a total 70,000-litre capacity.

The building is framed in reinforced concrete with lightweight infill walls. Cladding materials have been chosen for their durability and low maintenance, as state schools have limited maintenance budgets. External walls and roofs are Colorbond metal, while areas that can be maintained from floor level are clad in painted compressed fibre cement sheeting.

The tripartite treatment across the building creates a dynamic elevation. The base is within the flood zone, and hence has a perforated brick screen to allow floodwaters to run below the undercroft. The undercroft and first level are strongly framed by the concrete column grid and projecting concrete sun hoods, allowing the lightweight second floor to appear to hover over the robust base. Wide roof overhangs, external screens and sun hoods provide the required sun shading and an appropriate climatic solution to facades.

Local vernacular references were incorporated into the facades of the building. These include:

  • Red brick to the sub floor and stair cores, as a reference to the rich red agricultural soil of the area.
  • Peanut emblems in perforated sunscreens as a reference to the important agricultural crop of the Kingaroy region.
  • Perforated white metal screens on west facades as a reference to the majestic peanut silos located in the centre of town.

The building is extremely good value for money, environmentally sustainable, and provides an asset to the school and local community. We enjoy working with our education based clients to provide innovative design solutions that support the pedagogy of each school.

Architectural Team | Robert Biscoe, Marion Wilson, Joelie Vinall-Clark, Winson Leung, Anita James, Matthew Sevenyhazi

Builder | Hutchinson Builders

Structural Engineer | ARUP

Photographer | Anne Langdon Photography

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