Willunga Waldorf School, Senior Learning Centre

Senior Learning Centre
Willunga Waldorf School
Construction Management
3.2 Million

Willunga Waldorf School required a bespoke, flexible, and multi-purpose space able to be adjusted to suit the needs of their senior students. The two-story Senior Learning Centre was designed to create a dynamic and free-flowing environment that integrated seamlessly with the existing infrastructure at the School.

To create the desired aesthetic, flat materials were creatively adapted to fit the curved build, including the use of many materials not traditionally designed to be used together. Sarah closely collaborated with the project architects to ensure the smooth integration of materials.

The grounds and architecture are an integral part of the education at the school. The new senior learning centre represents a significant move forward as the building’s unique design enables students to enjoy the outside tranquility whilst maintaining a creative and flexible work space.

A free-flowing learning centre for Waldorf’s senior students


Design Challenges and Creative Solutions

  • Installing flat materials in a curved environment. The roof design curved in two different directions, including a drop curve at one end. To achieve this, Sarah accommodated the installation of flat materials in a curved environment, including bespoke handmade flashings.
  • Perforated tri-angled twisted ceiling. Larger bulkheads were created to integrate the ceiling seamlessly with the joinery. Extra furring channels were installed to offset the curvature, allowing the ceiling to twist in three different directions.
  • Rammed earth wall panels redesign. Rammed earth walls are consistent throughout the school. To manage the original structurally unsound rammed earth wall, Sarah worked with structural engineers to incorporate horizontal and vertical bars with post-tensioning to ensure structural integrity.

Client Outcomes

  • Iconic feature staircase. The learning centre’s large concrete and timber staircase delivers the impressive centerpiece and the prominent standout feature Waldorf wanted. Visible through the glass-fronted building, the staircase curves from a 7m wide base on ground floor into 3.5m at the top.
  • Vision brought to life. The Sarah team successfully brought the unique vision for this bespoke build to life. The standard box format build was discarded, in exchange for free-flowing lines and an open structure, creating a beauty and ambiance in line with the school’s dynamic ethos.
  • Honed concrete. The Sarah team assisted with the design of a honed polished concrete floor, allowing the learning centre to meet the minimum slip-rating requirements whilst achieving a quality finish, within budget.

Sarah Value-Add

  • Material upgrade for stairs. The original feature staircase used only timber. Sarah suggested concrete lined with timber to better achieve the curved lines while simultaneously creating extra space underneath the stairs. The extra space allowed for a larger kitchen area, significantly improving the user experience.
  • Experience with unusual builds. Having worked on many unusual builds, the Sarah team added significant value to the Senior Learning Centre by drawing extensively on their knowledge, creativity, and experience with bespoke, one-off builds.
  • Fire rating solution. The originally specified blockwork did not meet fire rating requirements but the oatmeal-coloured blocks were integral to creating the required aesthetic for the external cladding finish. Sarah successfully achieved the required fire rating by fire rating the columns internally.

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