McBride Charles Ryan’s design for the new
Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School
is an outstanding result of the Federal
Government’s Building the Education Revolution (BER)
initiative. Drawing inspiration from its surrounding
suburban setting, the silhouette of a federation house
type is ‘blown up’ and distorted with wit and whimsy
to spark the imaginations of the boys.
McBride Charles Ryan (MCR) has proven to be a
leading educational architect, having won a suite
of awards for its innovative designs for Fitzroy High
School (2009) and Templestowe Primary School (2004).
In its infancy, the school still awaits the awards
it deserves. It has been shortlisted for a yet-tobe-
announced World Architecture Festival (WA F)
Award and has already scooped the 2012 Horbury
Hunt Award – Commercial (Built).
The school grew out of a commission the practice
had previously received after winning a limited
competition to design the senior school building
for Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School
(PEGS). The school felt MCR was an ideal candidate
to also design the junior school after the rolling
out of BER funding.
The PEGS Junior building provides an inspiring
new home for the Year 5 and 6 boys. Where the
practice’s design for schools like Fitzroy High
School showcased flexible learning spaces in line
with current teaching sciences, the brief for PEGS
Junior called for a more traditional approach with
well-defined, separate classrooms that suited the
school’s teaching methods. This demanded a simple
two-storey building with four classrooms including
breakout spaces on the ground floor for the Year 5
students, and similar upstairs spaces for the Year 6
boys, which the practice says “seems fair, a bit
like a top bunk”.
Read Christine’s full article in Steel Profile, Issue 110.