School of Education


Waurn Ponds, Victoria


2017 – 2017


Principal Consultant
Contract Administration
Interior Design
Workplace Strategy and Design
Design team management

Educational building interior with desks, chairs, and whiteboards.


Deakin University’s School of Education is a bold, confident new precinct that cements its reputation as one of Australia’s top national and global leaders in teaching education. Located at the Geelong Waurn Ponds campus, surrounded by some of the most advanced research facilities in the world, the project provided a compelling opportunity to develop an inspiring next-generation teaching facility. The brief required the development of a facility that could accommodate 350 university students training to become teachers, supported by 80 staff across 10 learning spaces, that would demonstrate a strong sense of identity and excellence.

A respectful reimagining

The nominated site for the School of Education was an existing concrete building from the 1970s, with a masonry façade, steel roof structure and interior spaces that were incompatible with modern teaching practices. Our design response retained what we could, preserving the building’s façade, demolishing the walls and building services over three levels, and repurposing most of the building interior.

A modern educational office with vibrant yellow and black accents.
Supporting collaborative learning

Deakin had identified a ‘collaborative classroom’ model as the best teaching method for teaching teachers. Reimagining the unique four wing, ‘cross shaped’ plan of the original building, we shifted the circulation and corridor areas from the centre of each wing to the side and oriented the classroom spaces to the other side. As a result, the classrooms are larger and more functional, with plenty of light and open plan layouts better suited to collaborative learning and flexible teaching.

The new teaching spaces include:

  • Collaborative science and maths laboratories
  • Language laboratory
  • Arts & visual arts classrooms
  • Collaborative learning spaces
  • Music room; and
  • Computer lab.
A white table surrounded by black chairs, creating a contrasting and stylish classroom area.

The spaces beyond the classroom

The design acknowledges the importance of space outside the classroom too. This was also resolved by reworking the original cross shape design, apportioning 30 per cent of the floor area (and budget) to circulation, informal and public area space.

A yellow and black office with a circular table in an educational building lobby.

Integrated flexibility

Further flexibility is added to the classrooms via motorised ‘Skyfold’ doors which enable conversion of the space from 30-seat or dual-teaching classrooms to a 60-seat classroom at the push of the button.

A classroom with yellow and black chairs and tables, featuring a collapsible door for an educational setting.

Creating a new home base

Informal student hubs are located where the four wings converge centrally, creating spaces where students can socialise, study, prepare meals and meet. This not only caters for student needs and life between classes, but also supports the school’s desire to create a new home base for the staff and students.

Bold highlights within these spaces are elaborate geometric window arrangements, which become framed viewing portals into the new teaching environments. By successfully integrating controlled classroom environments with high-use student and public circulation areas, the teaching and learning outcomes are improved for all.

Educational classroom with a unique geometric ceiling design.

Demonstrating a proud new identity

As a cornerstone building, the School of Education is a vision that expresses a commitment to teaching that will lead future generations. It has become a building that stands tall within Deakin’s world-leading portfolio.

A classroom in an educational building with tables and chairs for students to sit and learn.