Located in Sydney’s west, Denham Court Public School is one of three new public schools in NSW that have been built rapidly using innovative modular construction methods as part of NSW’s major schools building program.
Sam Rigoli, partner at Pedavoli Architects led the project and his inspired design was driven by the idea of creating a school with modern learning spaces that fostered a flexible and collaborative environment. As Sam describes, “our goal is ultimately for the end-users, the students, to enjoy their school and create inviting spaces where they can share their ideas and learning experiences.”
Built using Volumetric Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA), also known as Modern Methods of Construction (MMoC) building techniques, this approach enabled rapid construction, ensuring the school was delivered within condensed timeframes. Searching for materials that suited this methodology was critical to the project’s success, and Sam went straight to Cemintel®, knowing it could help him deliver within the required timeframe. “With Cemintel’s Barestone, you get prefinished cladding, which means no surprises and your design plan is not compromised by material shortages or labour issues.” Sam also added that the durability and high-quality finish of Barestone made it perfectly suited to the demanding environment of a school.
Central to this was a unique design that would reflect and complement its surrounds. To achieve this, Cemintel’s Barestone prefinished cladding provided a natural finish in a range of grey hues across the buildings to weave a sense of cohesion throughout the design. As Sam describes, “the range of shades available for Barestone naturally complement each other, so it makes it easier when you are selecting the cladding to mix the palette without it being too jarring.”
With the Barestone base in place, Sam’s attention turned to how he was going to add a layer of fun and creativity to the exteriors. He found the solution with Cemintel’s sophisticated Surround colour range, which helped create a playful aesthetic that provided the school with its own identity that the children engaged in.
The Surround Collection includes five neutral colours in five finishes and features 16 colours in a range of trending palettes; Sam describes how he selected shades of blue, green and red to reflect the beautiful artwork that was so popular among the students. “There’s a beautiful large format illustration by Erica Halse with vibrant colours that everyone loves. It depicts an imaginary landscape with local references that relate back to the connection to country and I wanted to carry this joyous connection through each building exterior. That’s one of the best features of the Surround Collection, it gives you the creative license to enhance your design with colour accents.”
Sam’s architectural philosophy includes a special focus on connection to land and incorporating natural elements in his design. This is no more evident than in the innovative built form of the school, which creates a boundary along the east, south, and west sides, shaping a ‘U’ formation that encloses a private courtyard shielded from the street.
This layout enables ample penetration of winter sunlight into the classrooms while the shifting shadows on the facades establish a visual link for students, providing a sense of the passing time. The durability of the Barestone panels adds to the longevity of this design, due to their superior weather resistance and strength compared to other fibre cement panels of similar thickness.