Articles Wurun Senior Campus takes learning to the next level with Best Secondary School Award

Wurun Senior Campus → has been awarded Best Secondary School at the 2022 Victorian School Design Awards.

Presented by the Minister for Education, Natalie Hutchins MP, the award celebrates the design of Wurun Senior Campus as an innovative, creative and practical learning environment for Victorian secondary-school students.

Designed by GHDWoodhead and Grimshaw, Wurun Senior Campus is a new, highly sustainable, vertical senior campus that brings together two existing high schools to accommodate 650 students. Upon its opening in 2022, the new campus welcomed students from Collingwood College and Fitzroy High School as part of a joint program that aims to expand the choice of subjects and better meet student needs in Years 11 and 12.

Constructed as part of the regeneration of the historic Fitzroy Gasworks precinct in Melbourne’s inner north, the Wurun Senior Campus building folds around a prominent corner site so that it may integrate with the precinct’s future sports complex. The design takes advantage of this positioning, with the building form stepping up along its length to create a series of landscaped terraces and an abundance of outdoor space.

Each terrace allows direct connection to interior learning environments to promote a diverse pedagogical offering as well as health and wellbeing through the provision of abundant natural light, airflow, views and recreation spaces.

“Our aim is to empower and inspire the students of Wurun Senior Campus through their vertical school environment. The campus and its interior design provide a range of engaging learning spaces to foster self-directed and individualized learning. This focus on user experience extends to the health and wellbeing of students and staff as demonstrated through the abundance of light, views and direct connections to landscaped outdoor space on every level.”

Jason Embley, Grimshaw Principal

The campus also features three multipurpose sports courts in an innovative stacked configuration with the second-level sporting facility open to the public out of school hours – expanding the recreation options available to the local community in a dense urban setting.

The consultant team led by GHDWoodhead ran an integrated architecture and engineering design process with Grimshaw which enabled the team to optimize structural efficiencies to support the landscaping on the terraces, flexible interior spatial planning, and lower the energy demand of the building.

Designed to equip students with 21st century skills, each level provides specialist settings for performing arts, art and design, technology, science, food, resources centre and sports. Connections between these specialist precincts and the general learning hubs break down traditional boundaries between subjects and encourage interdisciplinary learning.

The name “Wurun” (pronounced wuh-RUN) means river white gum in the language of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people, on whose traditional lands the campus is situated. In collaboration with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, First Nations knowledge, stories, heritage and culture are embedded in the design, through interpretive installations, signage, planting, colour palettes, a mural, story panels about Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Elders and artworks.