Ivanhoe Grammar Senior Years & Science Centre / McBride Charles Ryan

McBride Charles Ryan of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, has been announced as the winner of the WAN Colour in Architecture Award 2016 for their Ivanhoe Grammar Senior Years & Science Centre, a project that places a vibrant and engaging use of colour at the heart of the design concept.

Ivanhoe grammar senior years & science centre / mcbride charles ryan
© John Gollings

The WAN Colour in Architecture Award celebrates projects that harness colour to dramatically transform a building or enhance the experience for its users and community. The winning design was selected from a shortlist of six entries by an expert judging panel. This year’s jury, chosen for their knowledge and experience in this category, were: Karen Haller, Applied Colour Psychology Consultant at Karen Haller Colour & Design, Morag Morrison, Partner at Hawkins\Brown, Per Nimer, Design Manager at Akzonobel and Zlatko Slijepcevic, Director of EPR Architects. After assessing the shortlist in depth, the judges were unanimous in their admiration for this project, which they considered a standout winner for successfully expressing a design philosophy that treated colour as a key consideration throughout.

Ivanhoe grammar senior years & science centre / mcbride charles ryan
© John Gollings

The brief for this new school building included a variety of general learning areas, provision for the senior year teachers and a science centre. The circular shaped plan had an appropriate civic quality based on the school’s original masterplan. However, rather repeating the circular pattern inside, the designers chose to use geometry and colour to define the central courtyards, light wells and learning spaces.

Ivanhoe grammar senior years & science centre / mcbride charles ryan
© John Gollings

The sharp angles and vivid colours of the interior form a dramatic contrast with the round form and muted tones of the drum-like outer structure. At key entry points, the drum is ‘eroded’ to reveal the wonders of science and learning expressed through this vibrant design. Per was delighted by the surprise of the coloured inner spaces as revealed through these openings, and went on to say: “I think that what fascinates me – and what makes it a winner – is that this project is obviously about colour from the start.”

Ivanhoe grammar senior years & science centre / mcbride charles ryan
© John Gollings

The designers were inspired by the idea of an eggshell hiding an inner core, and by kaleidoscopes, where a view inside reveals seemingly infinite combinations of colour and pattern. Karen appreciated this approach, saying: “It does look like an egg and when you break it open, there’s this jewel of colours in the middle.

Ivanhoe grammar senior years & science centre / mcbride charles ryan
© John Gollings

The contrast evident in the building’s language encapsulates contemporary methods for a well-rounded education. The classic circular form represents the order and certainty of knowledge, while the building’s expressive and complex inner world represents the uncertainty of modern life and scientific understanding, and the necessity of wonder and imagination to see us through. Zlatko praised the accurate response of the design to its context as a school building, combining the serious with the playful. Morag also noted the building’s effectiveness in its particular location, stating: “I think that it works in the context of Australia, where there’s bright sunshine. For kids, it must be brilliant.”

Overall, the judges agreed that this project exemplified the Award’s aim to champion designs using colour to create a more dynamic and communicative built environment. Karen said: “For the whole premise, that there’s an architectural firm looking to bring colour to the beginning of the design and not at the end – that’s to be commended.”

Project Details:

Location: Doreen, Australia
Architects: McBride Charles Ryan
Photographs: John Gollings

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
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About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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