2022 Victorian School Design Awards

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We acknowledge the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Custodians of this land. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We extend that respect to any other Elders and First Nations people here tonight.

[Upbeat music]

[On screen, short videos are shown of guests arriving to the Conversation Quarter at the State Library of Victoria, students from the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School playing guitar and cello and guests mingling prior to the awards commencing.]

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2022 Victorian School Design Awards

Shelley Ware: Good evening, everyone and welcome to the 2022 Victorian School Design Awards. My name is Shelley Ware and I'm going to be your MC tonight. I do a little bit of media work which could have got me this gig, but I'm a teacher as well and have been for 25 years and passionate about embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture within your classrooms, schools and your community.

[Collated images from this year’s entries are shown on screen]

Shelley: I am working as an education consultant with staff and students and am really honoured to be here and join you for these special awards, celebrating the innovation of building and modernising schools and kindergartens across the state. This evening, we are here on the lands of with the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation. I would like to acknowledge them as the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet. I pay my respects to their elders, past and present, and those emerging from these great schools that you are helping to create. I extend that respect to any other elders and First Nations people who are here tonight. We will begin shortly with Minister Stitt, who is announcing our first ever award for kindergarten design. Please make her feel welcome to say a few words to kick off our celebrations.

[on screen text: The Honourable Ingrid Stitt MP, Minister for Early Childhood and Pre-Prep and Minister for Workplace Safety]

Minister Ingrid Stitt MP: Thank you so much, Shelley, and thanks, everybody, for your warm welcome.  I'd also like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we're meeting this evening and pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge any Aboriginal elders and First Nations people who are joining us this evening.

I'd also like to acknowledge my colleague Natalie Hutchins, who is the Minister for Education and the Minister for Women. I'd also just like to give a shout out to the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and their very talented quartet that we were listening to when we arrived. We make it easier to develop all sorts of talents when we create the right environment for that learning to occur. This applies to all school types, primary, secondary and the special ones to kids with additional needs.

For years, these awards have reflected and celebrated the transformation you're helping to make right across the school sector and the education system in Victoria.

For the first time, I'm particularly proud that we will be recognising the best work that you're doing in kindergartens in our state. That's important because the next step to achieving our education state reforms are in the area of early childhood education and care, and it will continue to be a growing component of the work that you do with the Victorian School Building Authority.

Since coming to Government, we've invested nearly $13 billion to modernise Victoria's school system and to ensure that it's equipped to prepare our young people for the changing world and the new types of challenges that they'll face in the 21st century and to make it easier to unlock and develop their talents.

Our Best Start, Best Life reforms mean a massive expansion of early learning and the state's largest investment in kindergarten buildings.

We've already committed $1.6 billion to kindergarten infrastructure as we've rolled out our nation leading three-year-old kindergarten reforms.

As we'll see tonight, those reforms and the building programs that support them are well and truly underway.  With your help over the past two years, we've built and expanded enough kinders to ensure every three-year-old in the State can get at least 5 hours of early learning a week. No small feat.

We became the first Australian State to fund two years of kindergarten and from next year we're making kinder free for every child enrolled in a three and four-year-old kinder program.

Over this decade, we'll triple those early learning hours for three-year-old kinder and double them for four-year-old kinder, with the creation of a Pre-Prep year.

We're going to need more kinders and bigger kinders. Kinders designed to inspire the curiosity of young minds in new ways, and kinders designed to inspire staff, making it easier for them to try new activities or teach in new ways. We need kinders designed to be inclusive, so children of all abilities can get the very best start in life.

We'll also be building 50 government owned and operated early learning centres to support families, access affordable and quality, early childhood education and care in communities, in childcare deserts.

I've seen right across the state examples of how good design can support and enhance great teaching, so just as your ideas have pushed Victoria to the forefront of global school design in recent years, there'll be new opportunities for you to apply those skills and your innovation and talents to early learning design in the future.

I'm really looking forward to recognising and celebrating your efforts tonight. Thanks.

Shelley: Thank you, Minister. My son, who is in year 10 still says his favourite time at school was kindergarten, he absolutely loved it and kinder teachers are very special people, so it’s great to see spaces that are created to help our children flourish.  

Before we get proceedings underway, I would like to thank our judges Jill Garner, the Victorian Government Architect, Dr Philippa Soccio, a lecturer from the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Architecture, who specialises in teaching and learning environments, Avril Shihab-Smith, who leads the Victorian School Building Authority’s Delivery Division, and Jessica Speirs and Dan O’Brien, who jointly manage the VSBA grants that are funding the massive expansion of Victoria’s kindergarten system.

They have asked me to pass on their thanks to you for making their job extremely difficult. It was very hard for them to pick a winner.  They had to weigh up the architectural merits of compelling collections of school and kindergarten projects completed between June 2020 and June this year. As you will see shortly, the judges had some very unique projects to consider and for the first time ever, there are a couple of categories where the judges simply couldn't decide between two outstanding entries, therefore for the very first time, we will have joint winners in the history of these awards.

Stay tuned, we're in for a very interesting night. That made some people very excited I saw there, more chances to win!  We have nine winners to announce this evening, including a special Minister's Award. All entries are considered for that special award. It might recognise a particular aspect of outstanding design that promotes innovation in education, or perhaps a project that doesn't fit neatly into the regular award categories.

[on screen text and image: Image of the 2021 Minister’s Award, Maddison Architects, Haining Farm Campus – Alpine School]

Shelley: Our format this evening is very simple. I'll introduce the shortlist projects for each award. The Ministers will announce the winners and we will invite each representative from the winning firm to come to the stage via these stairs here on my left where you will collect your award, and we will have a photo taken on stage.

We also have some certificates for the non-winning finalists and the schools involved. To keep things moving, VSBA staff have those certificates for you on the table near the photo media wall, which is here to my right at the side of the room.

When we are through announcing the awards, we invite those finalists and schools to collect their framed certificates and make use of the photo wall and our photographers so you can record this magnificent moment.

Let's get started. We begin tonight with the first ever award for Best Kindergarten or Early Learning Centre.

[on screen text and image: Best Kindergarten or Early Learning Centre, Image of FROEBEL Early Learning Centre Carlton and Wellington Integrated Child and Family Hub is shown]

Shelley: Originally, they were going to be three early learning awards, two based on project budget and one based specifically on an outdoor space. But we know what happens with the best laid plans of men, mice and architects. As we heard earlier, this is the first year kinders have been included in these awards – reflecting the massive amount of construction happening in this sector to lay the foundations for those important early learning reforms. We didn’t know what to expect, and when the judges looked at the entries, it was clear that sticking with the original categories would not fairly reward the best work.

So, they have combined the early learning awards into one, and shortlisted 2 inspiring entries that clearly stood out, and would have been outstanding in any category. Let's have a look at what caught the judge’s eyes.

[on screen text and image: FROEBEL Early Learning Centre, Silvester Fuller]

Shelley: The first is Froebel Early Learning Centre in Carlton, designed by Silvester Fuller. It was completed early this year for $5 million. This project follows the increasing trend of placing early learning centres within buildings that are designed for other things.

[on screen images: Rotating images inside FROEBEL Early Learning Centre Carlton showing play and learning spaces are shown]

Shelley: In this case, it sits within the new Melbourne Connect innovation precinct – a building that brings together university research, start-up entrepreneurs supported by government and industry, a science gallery and accommodation for hundreds of postgraduate students. The challenge for Silvester Fuller was that it’s an irregular-shaped building, and their brief was to design a series of play and learning spaces over 3 levels.

They have connected these indoor and outdoor spaces with timber lattice that is beautiful, practical and reflects the hybrid engineered timber building design.

The judges thought this was particularly clever and it brought a sense of joy in the way it branches out to connect spaces while providing seating, storage, display shelves and containers for plants.

It also dampens sound, allowing different play spaces to sit alongside each other without any other structures that could restrict visibility for staff. It softens but doesn’t completely hide the ceiling services.

Shelley: That ties in with Froebel’s approach that children should develop a curiosity about STEM at an early age. Overall, the judges described this design as an exemplary example of what’s needed to create successful multipurpose buildings.

[on screen text and image: Wellington Integrated Child and Family Hub, AOA Christopher Peck. Rotating images of indoor and outdoor learning and play spaces are shown.]

Shelley: Also shortlisted for this award is AOA Christopher Peck for their design of the Wellington Integrated Child and Family Hub. This Mulgrave hub was completed late last year for $4.5 million. The project brings together childcare and early learning, maternal health services and community facilities for local families. It replaced a previous early learning centre on the same site, and a critical part of the brief was that the architects retain the public park feel of the location. As we can see from the outcome, the architects took on that challenge with a passion. Their design recesses into the landscape. They not only located the centre to retain mature native trees, they sculpted the building design around a significant eucalyptus. This makes a stunning focal point for the kinder rooms, as well as providing shade. The nature focus extends further with external timber cladding, which will weather with time. The judges also praised how natural materials featured inside, saying it created a warm and inviting environment, successfully linking indoor and outdoor spaces. They also liked the playful, whimsical aspects of the kindergarten rooms with overscaled porthole windows and blue carpet tiles used for floor games.

[on screen image: Image of internal spaces, port holes and open plan play spaces at Wellington Integrated Child and Family Hub.]

Shelley: There are a couple of fantastic designs there to kick off at is evening. Minister, can you please announce for us the winner of the inaugural best Kindergarten of Early Learning Centre Award?

Minister Stitt: This award for Best Kindergarten and Early Learning Centre has been jointly won by AOA Christopher Peck for Wellington Integrated Child and Family Hub and Silvester Fuller for FROEBEL Early Learning Centre.

[on screen text and image: Winners of Best Kindergarten or Early Learning Centre, Silvester Fuller, FROEBEL Early Learning Centre, AOA Christopher Peck, Wellington Child and Family Hub]

Shelley: Let's move on to our school awards. These awards will be announced by the Minister for Education, Natalie Hutchins. We start with the Best School Project - Under $5 million.

[on screen text and image: Best School Project Under $5 million. Image of White Hills Primary School and Stawell Secondary College]

Shelley: Our first finalist is Y2 Architecture for their upgrade of White Hills Primary School, completed last year for $4.6 million.

[on screen text and image: White Hills Primary School, Y2 Architecture. Rotating images of indoor and outdoor spaces are shown.]

Shelley: This was a major transformation for this Bendigo school. It had a main building built in the 1980s that no longer suited modern teaching. It was a messy rabbit warren of individual teaching and administration spaces. It was dark, uninviting and difficult to navigate. When the school began discussing this project with Y2 Architecture, they realised that students using newer parts of the school were getting better learning opportunities. The challenge became to smash this inconsistency, remove the barriers to 21st century learning. Y2 did this economically, making as much use as possible of the original building and materials, but opening it up into a series of flexible learning neighbourhoods.

[An image of a flexible learning space at White Hills Primary School is shown. A child is reading a book, while other students sit in a breakout area with a teacher.]

Shelley: They created these for each year level, so the design could best support the curriculum. They’re connected with 2 inviting internal courtyards known as SunLabs. These can be used for outdoor learning and have totally changed the building’s character with more natural light and better circulation. Students have gained modern flexible learning studios, breakout spaces, presentation areas and collaborative maker places. The wider community benefits too, with a multipurpose area that caters for small to medium-sized events, including somewhere for the growing local Karen population to meet and socialise. Next in the running for this award is Workshop Architecture for the new Science and Food Technology Building they completed in 2022 at Store Secondary College for $4 million.

[on screen text and image: Stawell Secondary College, Workshop Architecture. Rotating collage of images]

Shelley: Next in the running for this award is Workshop Architecture for the new Science and Food Technology Building they completed in 2020 at Stawell Secondary College for $4 million. This school had more buildings than its student numbers could justify, but several were ageing and no longer fit for purpose. However, at its core, it also has a prized heritage administration building and it had a need for modern science classrooms and laboratories. Workshop Architecture treated the large campus as a village, grouping facilities into disciplines and clustering them around the original heritage building. They demolished two redundant classroom blocks and slotted the new science and food technology building into place. Their intention was to meld it as much as possible within the original fabric of the school, as well as acknowledging local indigenous heritage. A highlight in this approach is the steeply pitched feature roof and overhanging eaves that both practical in the Wimmera climate and reflected the design of the heritage building.

They demolished 2 redundant classroom blocks and slotted the new science and food technology building into place. Their intention was to meld it as much as possible within the original fabric of the school, and also acknowledge local indigenous heritage. A highlight in this approach is the steeply pitched feature roof and overhanging eaves that are both practical for the Wimmera climate and reflect the design of the heritage building. They have connected the 2 sections of the new building with a stunning central skylit corridor. Beneath the skylights they placed timber battening that serves as sun shading, as well as echoing the diagonal patterning of local indigenous shields and other artefacts.

Shelley: The school has gained the modern facilities it needs for the future, and a building that respects the history surrounding it. Minister, who is our winner?

Minister Hutchins: The winner of the Best School Project - Under $5 million is Workshop Architecture for the Science Building at Stawell Secondary College.

[on screen text and image: Winner, Workshop Architecture, Stawell Secondary College]

Shelley: Now we move on to the Best School Project Between $5 million and $10 million.

[on screen text and image: Best School Project Between $5 million & $10 million. Images of Cowes Primary School and Niddrie Autistic School]

Shelley: Our first finalist is Project 12 Architecture for the gymnasium they designed for Cowes Primary School, completed for the start of this year for $5.5 million. It’s a competition-grade gym, meaning as well as the kids using it during the day, it suits wider community use after hours and on weekends. To the judges, it was simply a “lovely piece of architecture”.  Careful planning has made it functional, flexible and beautiful, not to mention, it was built on time and under budget. They particularly appreciated the siting of the building – next to an existing pool and hardcourts to create a sports hub on the school grounds, and next to an area of native bushland that becomes integral to the design. From the outside, they thought this blended the new building into the site wonderfully, describing it as a “quiet addition”.  From the inside, they loved how the south wall of windows framed the trees as well as providing natural ventilation. They also noted how the translucent cladding on the north and south sides flooded the court with diffuse natural light, while letting the internal lighting shine out at night – as a welcoming beacon for evening visitors. The design also includes an adjoining music room with a raised floor. This allows it to be used as a stage for performances and assemblies as required, or shut off, physically and acoustically, with an operable wall. Clever, thoughtful stuff!

[on screen text and image: Niddrie Autistic School, Guymer Bailey Architects. Rotating collage of images is shown.]

Shelley: Also up for this award is Guymer Bailey Architects for the teaching block and nature playgrounds they completed last year for Niddrie Autistic School for $7.3 million. This project is a great reminder of what good school design is all about. It has replaced relocatable classrooms, and an outdated building designed for mainstream teaching, with learning environments that cater for the specific needs of autistic students.  That’s the sort of impact that changes lives. The 12 purpose-built classrooms have given teachers greater flexibility to customise and diversify lessons around individual student needs. As you might expect in a new building of this type of school, the main classrooms are supported by resource rooms that are easy to access and there are smaller breakout spaces for specialised learning or where students can retreat. But what really stood out for the judges, was the clever layout that arranges the classrooms around 2 central courtyards, as well as linking them with individual sensory gardens. This creates additional outdoor learning spaces and provides a calming environment – inside and out. This design understands the important role nature can play to develop these students. Large bitumen areas have been replaced by natural play spaces. These are shaded by retained mature trees, and feature safer equipment designed to develop kids’ stability and coordination. The judges thought there was a lot to learn from how this design supported the school’s educational goals. Everyone, please put your hands together for two great finalists and Minister, can you please tell us who the winner is?

[on screen text and images: Best School Project Between $5 million & $10 million Award.

Images of White Hills Primary School and Cowes Primary School]

Minister Hutchins: The winner of the Best School Project – between $5 and $10 million is Project 12 Architecture for the gym at Cowes Primary School.

[on screen text and image: Winner, Project 12 Architecture, Cowes Primary School]

Shelley: Our next award category this evening is Best School Project – Above $10 million. 

[on screen text and images: Best School Project Above $10 million. Image of Greater Shepparton Secondary College and Port Melbourne Secondary College]

Shelley: Let’s meet our finalists. First, we have the Billard Leece Partnership for Port Melbourne Secondary College.

[on screen text and images: Port Melbourne Secondary College, Billard Leece Partnership.

Rotating images of the school are shown.]

Shelley: This was a $60 million school that took in its first students this year. This is the first social infrastructure built in Australia’s largest urban renewal project at Fishermans Bend. Not long ago, this area was Melbourne’s industrial heartland – known more for its factories and docks than its schools. Now the school is a hub in one of the city’s fastest growing residential areas.  Its design reflects local history and is geared to meet future need. Outside, the ship-shaped building acknowledges the community’s maritime and industrial past, while within the walls, the design is forward-thinking – dynamic learning spaces with flexibility to evolve with changing styles of teaching and learning. The architects involved principals of other recently-built vertical schools in their planning – gaining practical feedback and learning the lessons from past projects. The result is a relatively open plan environment, with a state-of-the-art acoustic performance. On a limited footprint, all the learning spaces connect to outdoor terraces. There is also easy access to adjacent recreation spaces and transport networks. A timber structure at the heart of the building connects to each floor for wayfinding, and this is where the architects have placed the staff zones to encourage communication with students and promote a mature learning environment. Connection with the growing new community hasn’t been forgotten. Outside of school hours, they are welcome to use the secure public forecourt, community food gardens and other multiuse spaces.

[on screen text and images: Greater Shepparton Secondary College, Gray Puksand. Rotating images of the school are shown.]

Shelley: Also competing for this award is Gray Puksand for their work on the state’s biggest school building project – the $119 million Greater Shepparton Secondary College.

It was another of the 14 new schools to open this year. Our thoughts are with them as these uncertain times of the floods and hope the damage to the school is minimal and that they are back on their feet and back to normal as soon as possible.

This was a massive build to address big challenges. The regional city had 4 underperforming, undersized secondary schools offering their students a limited range of study options and ageing facilities. The solution was to merge the 4 schools and their 2,300 students on to one new modern campus. The challenge was how to gain the benefits – wider curriculum choice and better resources – without losing the care and individual support we see in small school communities. This could be achieved if the school was broken into smaller houses of around 300 students.

Gray Puksand came up with a village townscape concept – designing the school as 9 ‘houses’ clustered around 3 ‘neighbourhoods’ offering specialist science, design, technology and arts facilities. With this design, students can initially do most of their learning within their small houses. As they get older and branch out to more specialist subjects, they can work more with students from neighbouring houses with similar interests and share the advanced neighbourhood resources.

For senior students, Gray Puksand added a separate Enterprise and Innovation Centre with some of the best facilities in the state for career pathways into technology and science fields as well as performing and fine arts.

They completed the campus with a substantial recreation centre offering 2 competition-grade courts, gym and studios for dance and yoga.

The judges acknowledged this as an extraordinarily difficult project and praised the architectural ideas that make it work. They noted details that stop people getting lost on such a big campus, like the central courtyard with paths and open space branching out like a local river to the individual houses. They thought the building forms, the common roof lines and choice of materials worked aesthetically and practically – creating the town feel while also considering acoustics, weather protection and natural light.

Two amazing pieces of work there. Let’s congratulate our finalists, I think their work has been outstanding. Let’s give them a round of applause. Minister, please tell us who the winner is.

[on screen text and image: Best School Project Above $10 million Award]

Minister Hutchins: The winner of the Best School Project - above $10 million is Gray Puksand for Greater Shepparton Secondary College.

[on screen text and image: Winner, Gray Puksand, Greater Shepparton Secondary College]

Shelley: Our next award is for the Best Primary School Project.

[on screen text and image: Best Primary School Project. Images of Sandringham Primary School and Clyde Creek Primary School]

Shelley: First up is Kerstin Thompson Architects & McBride Charles Ryan for their design of Clyde Creek Primary School.

[on screen text and image: Clyde Creek Primary School, Kerstin Thompson Architects & McBride Charles Ryan. Rotating images of the school are shown.]

Shelley: This is another of the new schools opening for families in high-growth areas this year. Starting with a barren, greenfield site, the architects have created an environment that the judges described as “relaxing, warm and cosy”.  They put this down to great attention to detail, some thoughtful use of colour and materials, and a beautiful flow between the inside and outside areas.

In many ways, this campus has the standard collection of playgrounds, and learning and administration buildings that you would expect in a new primary school. But the judges loved the arrangement of these basic elements. The buildings form a circular cluster around an open space known as the ‘civic heart’. Apart from serving as an outdoor learning and play area, the civic heart has become a focal gathering space for the school community and visitors.  And while the building exteriors facing the street are metal clad to be a neutral backdrop to the perimeter landscaping, those facing the civic heart are brick walls in warm, earthy tones. That colour palette and use of natural materials then extends inside, creating the same warm and calm learning environment.

At the eastern edge of the circle of buildings is the school’s gym and performing arts building known as the Community Hub. It has a separate public entry as it’s shared with local residents after hours as a valuable recreational facility for this rapidly developing suburb.

[on screen text and image: Sandringham Primary School, Peter Elliot Architecture + Urban Design. Rotating images of the school are shown.]

Shelley: Also, in the running for this award is Peter Elliott Architecture & Urban Design for their major rebuild of Sandringham Primary School. The school was significantly damaged by a fire in 2020 that destroyed half its buildings and forced it to relocate to a temporary site at another local school. Sandringham Primary is one of the oldest schools in Victoria, first opening in 1855.

The architects wanted to honour that history, as well as create modern learning spaces for generations to come. They consulted the community about what they valued most at the old school, and worked to salvage, retain or recreate those elements in the new design. The inevitable hybrid outcome of new and old was described by the judges as “visually interesting, well integrated and beautifully done”. This is achieved with a design using gabled roofs and brick walls. This relates to the older design but adds a contemporary and fun collection of brick textures and colours.

The much-loved internal courtyard has also been recreated, along with a new arrival forecourt. To gain the additional open space needed, the architects replaced the original sprawling single-storey structures with more compact and efficient double-storey buildings. If there is a silver lining to this tragedy, it’s that students and teachers have gained more outdoor space and modern facilities with better natural light and ventilation.

So, Minister, two very different entries there. Which one is our winner for Best Primary School?

[on screen text and image: Best Primary School Award, Image of Clyde Creek Primary School and Sandringham Primary School]

Minister Hutchins: The award for Best Primary School is shared by two listed entries. Kerstin Thompson Architects and McBride Charles Ryan for Clyde Creek Primary School and Peter Elliot Architecture and Urban Design for Sandringham Primary School.

[on screen text and image: Winner, Kerstin Thompson Architects & McBride Charles Ryan
Clyde Creek Primary School and Peter Elliot Architecture + Urban Design Sandringham Primary School]

Shelley: Our second category tonight with joint winners!  Again, the judges found it impossible to choose between them. Congratulations to the 4 firms and both schools involved in this one.

We have two awards remaining. The next category is the Best Secondary School project.

[on screen text and image: Best Secondary School Project, Image of Wurun Senior Campus]

Shelley: Up for this is GHDWoodhead and Grimshaw for their design of the Wurun Senior Campus.

[on screen text and image: Wurun Senior Campus, GHDWoodhead and Grimshaw Architects. Rotating images of the school are shown.]

Shelley: Let’s have a look at this innovative new campus shared between the senior students of Collingwood College and Fitzroy High School. It opened this year at the Fitzroy Gasworks development, after being completed for $84 million. The judges described it as a sophisticated design that created a mature learning environment, like a university, which is perfect for developing the Year 11 and 12 students it caters for. The vertical school is built over 6 levels, each housing a specialist precinct such as performing arts, visual arts, technology, science, food technology or sports.

Between the precincts, the architects have placed spaces that encourage learning and new ways of thinking across disciplines. Sometimes these are breakout areas or small group spaces and sometimes it is achieved with openable walls or using glass to create visual connections. Each level also has a terrace, some with outdoor learning resources relating to their precinct. Food technology students can grow fresh produce in raised garden beds, art students have an outdoor kiln, and the science areas are located near the rooftop solar panels to use them as a learning resource. Of course, these terraces are also used for socialising and recreation – there is even an outdoor sports court on the roof with amazing city views.

A special aspect of the campus design is how it features local First Nations history and continuing culture. The designers have worked in partnership with Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung elders and artists to embed that throughout with interpretive installations, signage, planting, colour palettes, a mural, and story panels. Even the campus name, Wurun, is the Woi-wurrung word for the Manna Gum tree that is so central to local Indigenous culture.

Minister, I understand this entry stood out so much for the judges, they didn’t declare any other finalists for this category.

Minister Hutchins: Our clear winner for Best Secondary School is GHDWoodhead and Grimshaw for Wurun Senior Campus.

[on screen text and image: Winner, GHDWoodhead & Grimshaw Architects, Wurun Senior Campus]

Shelley: Now we come to the final award of this year, the special Minister's Award.

[on screen text: 2022 Victorian School Design Awards Special Minister’s Award. The Honourable Natalie Hutchins MP, Minister for Education and Minister for Women]

Shelley: This is selected from all entries and recognises a particular outstanding design that’s perhaps not covered in the criteria of the regular categories. Minister, who stood out for you in 2022?

Minister Hutchins: Thank you, Shelley. Can I also acknowledge traditional owners of the land on which we are and pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging. I pay my respects to you Shelley for being our MC today.

I have been in the role as Minister for Education for just on three months and I've been able to manage to visit around 52 schools in that time.

There is so much wonderful design and I want to thank the judges for all the work that you've put in, because I'm not sure that I could have picked between some of those programs.

Today, I had the privilege of visiting Cranbourne West Primary School and Dandenong North Primary School, both have amazing brand-new buildings in place and some construction still under way, but I was really impressed with multi-use spaces and the never-ending options that teachers and kids have with new buildings and the great designs.

I had the absolute pleasure yesterday of opening the Centre for Higher Education Studies, which is an amazing building, and I say amazing not only for the design but for what it's about to deliver for kids in public education who have really extraordinary abilities to be able to study a range of subjects they perhaps may not get access to in their local areas through that new facility in South Yarra in partnership with a number of schools in the local area.

Some may not have been entered for the awards that we've seen tonight, but I certainly know that there is some fantastic work going on around the place because I say it with my own eyes, and I hear it from teachers at schools that I visit.

Never underestimate the power of your work to do to help us deliver a better education.

I've heard messages from students who are so proud of working and learning in new facilities, that are making it easier for them to grasp new concepts, whether it be through new STEM centres that allow a group of nine students to study robotics for the first time, or the flexible classrooms that are giving teachers more options, from gyms and theatres to shared spaces with the wider community. We know that turning our schools into enriched community hubs is one of the best things we can do, particularly in our growth areas and rejuvenating older suburbs as well.

These are differences that help to change the lives and broaden the futures and everyone in this room can be really proud for your contribution.

I'm conscious that you are working on most of the projects that we've seen tonight throughout the COVID pandemic, and I want to acknowledge the challenges that you would have faced as designers. And for those that are involved in building, there's no doubt that what has come from COVID has seen a new inspiration for so many schools to be able to return to the classroom with new facilities that are just fantastic.

One design, though, struck me and the judging panel as being extremely unique, and it's worthy of special recognition, but it doesn't neatly slot into any of the categories that we've seen tonight. However, it will have a major impact on improving teaching at every type of school across the state.

The winner of my special award for 2022 is DesignInc for the new Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership.

[on screen image and text: Winner, DesignInc, Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership (The Academy)]

Minister Hutchins: This is for the academy’s new CBD home amongst the government buildings at the top of the Treasury Gardens.

[Rotating images of The Academy are shown on screen]

Minister Hutchins: It’s a $16 million transformation of an 1858 heritage building that once housed the government printworks. This year, it opened its doors as an inspiring contemporary centre for advanced professional development of our leading teachers and principals. It’s somewhere for our most exceptional teachers from the public and private sectors to gather, to learn from each other and share best practice.

We wanted this building to make a statement, and it certainly does. Thank you, Design Inc for making that statement come to life. The purpose of this building is stunning; the repurposing is even more stunning.

We still have the important heritage features, the ceilings, windows and grand dimensions, and the very Melbourne Bluestone Walls in the basement, which have a really unique smell to them as well. And you’ve given them new life. That expansive, light-filled upper floor has the dynamic circular stage with the seating that rotates to suit small or large presentations.

From the soft curtains to the atmospheric basement, everything about it is just magnificent, not to mention the ‘chill out garden room’ that exists. I’m not sure if I got the title right, but I do remember walking through it.

Congratulations DesignInc – a great job on a special project of great importance. Thank you very much.

Shelley: Thank you, Minister. That is a wrap of the 2022 Victorian School Design Awards, travel well and thank you.

[Looping videos of guests making use of the media wall for professional photos with their certificates are shown.]

[A white background appears with the VSBA, Victoria State Government and 150 Years of Public Education logos. On-screen text: www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au]

[A black background appears and white text appears. On-screen text: Authorised by The Victorian School Building Authority, 33 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne]

[Transcript ends]