As the winner of the Interior Architecture Award at the 2017 Victorian Architecture Awards held earlier this year, The Gipson Commons, our newest, largest and first purpose-built K–12 teaching and learning facility, progressed to the 2017 National Architecture Awards held on 2 November, and received a National Commendation for Interior Design.

St Michael's Grammar School

This year, the National Architecture Awards received 983 entries – 72 projects were shortlisted with 44 receiving awards and commendations across 14 categories.

The Awards recognises and celebrates outstanding achievement and excellence in architecture, and showcases regional projects and the work of emerging artists.

The Interior Architecture category, in which The Gipson Commons award was won, acknowledges exceptional design of an interior spatial environment and may include projects completed within a new building or the interior refurbishment of an existing building.

St Michael's Grammar School

Rising over three levels, The Gipson Commons was officially opened on 22 April 2016 and includes spaces for Food Technology, Science, Knowledge, flexible classrooms, archival room and a 200-seated cafeteria – Dolly’s Cafe.

The following citation from the jury panel further illustrates how The Gipson Commons encapsulates intellectual innovation with its foundation of clever interior architecture:

‘Premised on the spatial order of a Balinese house compound, the serendipitous co-location of the canteen, archives, an atrium and learning spaces establishes a stimulating learning environment.

St Michael's Grammar School

Neighbourhood “pavilions” structured around “streets” and “courtyards” provide both cohesion and variety. Spaces for individual exploration and reflection complement and extend those for more structured interaction.

Learning here is witnessed by all, creating a sense that the quest for knowledge is a communal activity, in contrast to the isolated cells of traditional classrooms.

This rich environment gathers the past into the learning of today and demonstrates the potential for pedagogies of the future.’

Photo credit: Architectus