McBride Charles Ryan has been announced as the winner of the 2016 WAN Colour in Architecture Award for their Ivanhoe Grammar Senior Years & Science Centre, a project that places a vibrant and engaging use of colour at the heart of the design concept.
The WAN Colour in Architecture Award celebrates projects that harness colour to dramatically transform a building or enhance the experience for its users and community. The winning design was selected from a shortlist of six entries by an expert judging panel.
The brief for this new school building included a variety of general learning areas, provision for the senior year teachers and a science centre. The circular shaped plan had an appropriate civic quality based on the school's original masterplan. However, rather repeating the circular pattern inside, the designers chose to use geometry and colour to define the central courtyards, light wells and learning spaces. The sharp angles and vivid colours of the interior form a dramatic contrast with the round form and muted tones of the drum-like outer structure. At key entry points, the drum is 'eroded' to reveal the wonders of science and learning expressed through this vibrant design. The designers were inspired by the idea of an eggshell hiding an inner core, and by kaleidoscopes, where a view inside reveals seemingly infinite combinations of colour and pattern.
The contrast evident in the building's language encapsulates contemporary methods for a well-rounded education. The classic circular form represents the order and certainty of knowledge, while the building's expressive and complex inner world represents the uncertainty of modern life and scientific understanding, and the necessity of wonder and imagination to see us through.
Photography: John Gollings