Architecture for Pedagogy and Urban Intensification: Designing the Future

Andrew Cortese
Grimshaw Architects, Sydney

The integrated redevelopment of Arthur Phillip High School and Parramatta Public School is a landmark education project for the state of New South Wales and Australia. It will be the state’s first public high-rise school and a prototype for future-focused learning in urban renewal environments.

The project represents a paradigm shift in the design of education facilities, with a building typology that prioritizes future-focused pedagogies with passive strategies for climatic performance and operational sustainability. Most recent initiatives in Australia are for six- to nine-story facilities, with smaller student communities. At 2,000 students, the 17-story high Arthur Phillip High school represents an evolutionary shift in pedagogical response, with teaching and learning spaces designed for maximum flexibility and configurability.

The high school consists of six unique stacked communities or “homebases,” designed to accommodate 2,000 students. These areas are designed for maximum flexibility and re-configurability with formal and informal project-based and STEAM learning spaces, including super-labs, robotics, digital and visual arts studios. and a commercial kitchen.

This presentation demonstrated how the building will also function as a piece of social infrastructure, servicing one of Sydney’s most socially and ethnically diverse populations. In this way, it is a vital part of the urban renewal of Parramatta, offering an expansive, landscaped open space with retained heritage fabric and recreational, learning, and hospitality facilities. Combined, these facilities will establish a new community of learning for the future.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation

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