Wilderness School, Learning Commons

Learning Commons
Wilderness School
$10 Million

The Wilderness School Learning Commons project involved the refurbishment of existing buildings to create a new learning space for Wilderness students and a striking front entrance for the school.

Constructed in a live environment over three stages, the project utilised two natural products not commonly used on school buildings – sandstone and bronze – to create a natural, soft, and welcoming streetscape that complements its leafy surrounds.

High quality finishes and innovative functionality were both critical to the success of this project. With a robust consultative approach, the Sarah team ensured both were achieved to exceedingly high standards, resulting in a prestigious learning space that the entire Wilderness community can be proud of.

“Wilderness appreciate the passion and devotion Sarah have always given us on all projects over the years.”

Paula Jolly, Business Manager - Wilderness School

A new learning commons: capturing the heart of the school


Design Challenges and Creative Solutions

  • Feature stairs. The initial design incorporated Corian to create a seamless, white finish for the feature staircase. Sarah identified that Corian would not achieve the desired high-quality finish and through consultation, implemented white venetian plaster instead.
  • Sandstone etched with school logo. The sandstone for the façade feature was only 20mm thick, providing a significant challenge and risk for etching. Sarah obtained multiple samples and worked closely with the contractor to ensure success of this intricate process.
  • Retention of existing slab. The existing level one suspended slab was required to remain while demolishing the building around it. Sarah constructed temporary supports to keep the slab in mid-air position while engineering the optimal solution for progressing the build.

Client Outcomes

  • Flexible learning spaces. The level two commons teaching space was conceptualised by the school’s staff, designed by the architect, and brought to life by Sarah. The timber veneer wall transforms the open space into four separated teaching spaces for flexible learning.
  • Minimal disruption to school. Maintaining an operating school environment involved constant communication and cooperation with all stakeholders. School community movements were safely managed around construction works, while increased noise levels were conducted during lunch breaks or out of school hours.
  • Fast-tracked installation. The sandstone façade design included a clipping system sourced from overseas. Sarah provided the same finish using a locally sourced glue system which delivered the same architectural, aesthetic, and engineering requirements but fast-tracked installation.

Sarah Value-Add

  • Intricate detail reflected at every level. Every wall, ceiling, and joinery within the Wilderness build has a unique finish. Sarah implemented significantly increased briefing and consulting across every stage, with all contractors, to ensure the highest quality finish was achieved.
  • Rigorous sample process delivers exceptional quality. At every stage, Sarah reviewed numerous samples, implemented sign-off points, brought prototypes on site, and conducted rigorous review for material selections.
  • Ongoing inclusive consultation. To meet and exceed the client’s expectations, Sarah conducted ongoing consultations weekly, involving the client and all stakeholders to ensure clear understanding of build priorities at every stage. At times, this included flying interstate suppliers to Adelaide for face-to-face meetings.

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