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William Clarke College Branwhite Centre

Forward-looking at the core of design; adaptable in its academic offerings

Branwhite Centre represents the genesis of a new building typology for William Clarke College as it implements a campus masterplan developed by PMDL. Strategically sited to create a new learning node for the campus, this three-storey, 4800 m2 building emphasises an integration with future capital development and the establishment of vistas across the expansive greenery on campus. As an academic building, it accommodates learning spaces for six streams, a homebase for two year groups and purpose-built faculty areas for science, art, mathematics and technological and applied studies. These learning spaces are complementarily integrated with ample communal areas to promote a sense of belonging and a passion for learning and craft. As an urban investment, its composition reaches out to connect with the reimagined north and south forecourts, framing activities and capturing campus views both inside and out through an interplay of solid and striated cladding. Traversing through a the building is a lively journey of authentic materials that pay tribute to the contribution of William Branwhite Clarke, a renowned geologist in Australia of whom the college is named in honour. Our design goals included maximising passive interaction, promoting project-based learning and preparing students for rapidly-emerging careers. To achieve this we developed a strategy to co-locate multiple faculties previously scattered. Faculty-specific workshops, laboratories, art studios, media studios and a thematic kitchen constitute a constant synergy with other flexible learning and breakout spaces so that a balanced variety of academic and social offerings are catered for. Altogether, this methodology fosters adaptability and a forward-looking vision that reflects the multitude of career paths towards the future.

CLIENT William Clarke College

LOCATION Kellyville, NSW, Australia

STATUS Completed in July 2020

YEAR 2020

SCALE 5,700 sqm

Photographs – Brett Boardman Photography

William Clarke College commenced its formal association with PDML by appointing PMDL to undertake a comprehensive Master Plan review for the next 20 years of the College’s development. That work was completed in 2017 and very soon thereafter we commenced work on the first project under that new Master Plan; being a three-storey 5,700 m2 building for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics subjects.

Throughout the design process there were three key educational elements we were trying to accomplish; being to make learning visible, to provide flexible spaces for learning to take place in a meaningful way for students, and for the building to allow for collaboration among the various faculties. We were also trying to achieve an appealing aesthetic both for the building external and internal areas.

The building opened for students and staff in July 2020 and it was clearly evident from the start of occupancy that the intended outcomes were being achieved. Students have responded amazingly well to an enhanced environment that is stimulating and highly conducive to learning and exploration.

PMDL are leaders in the educational space; being a very proactive member of Learning Environments Australasia. The College immensely enjoyed working with the PMDL team during the design of the project and their contract management services were also vital in achieving a high quality outcome for the College.” – Business Manager at William Clarke College