EDUCATION, COLOR, COURTYARD
McBride Charles Ryan: mcbridecharlesryan.com.au
Dallas Brooks Community Primary School is an amalgamation of three local primary schools in Dallas, Broadmeadows, in the North of Melbourne. It is part of a number of public school developments in the area collectively referred to as the Broadmeadows Regeneration Project. Broadmeadows has a proud working class history however in recent times its strong manufacturing base has waned. Broadmeadows has also been a beneficiary of the latest wave of immigrants to Melbourne and recent immigrants from Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Sudan compose greater than 60% of the population. Dallas, in central Broadmeadows, is subject to these recent demographic changes. Dallas too also has been awarded the dubious honour of Melbourne’s most financially underprivileged suburb. The Broadmeadows Regeneration Project is a Victorian government initiative aimed at producing positive social change in a community where the lack of community services, poverty, crime, and social marginalisation represent genuine challenges.
The Dallas Brooks school leaders were determined to not just develop a primary school but to realize a community hub – a birth to old age learning facility that could also supplement many of the pressing community needs of the suburb. The school acts as a walled city, protecting small tailored communal teaching spaces linked with open courtyards. The walled city metaphor is one that had relevance with many of the suburbs new ethnic groups. The ebullient brickwork patterning of the outer wall recalls the rich patterning of the traditional dress of some of these groups. The profile of the wall was developed by compressing the silhouetted imagery of the surrounding suburban fabric into this new composition. These strategies were an attempt to produce a new and inclusive architecture for this unique Melbourne community.
Studio: McBride Charles Ryan
Project name: Dalla Brooks Community School
Location: Dallas (Melbourne), Victoria, Australia
Typology: Primary School
Project Team: Rob McBride, Debbie Ryan, Drew Williamson, Stephan Bekhor
Photographer: John Gollings