Ignited Imagination

Ignited Imagination

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.

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