• Commendation 2020, Learning Environments Australasia, New Construction Under $8 Million

La Valla at Marist College Bendigo has been designed to suit the pedagogical philosophies of Reggio Emila; a ‘living’ building in both its dynamic learning environments and it’s connectivity with the surrounding natural environment. Catering to the school’s youngest age group (5-10-year olds), the children are immersed in a dynamic, engaging space that encourages curiosity and imagination through warm natural textures and interactive learning.

Working in collaboration with lead consultant Y2 Architecture, ACOR Consultants has provided Civil and Structural Engineering services for each stage of the masterplan development. Rammed earth walls mixed with sand and clay are a key component of the structural design, creating a natural finish to the facade that blends with the surrounding landscape and exposed Trusses add a warm visual aesthetic to the interior space.

This constant celebration of and linkage to the outdoors is represented through a number of Biophilic Design Principles – the contrast of natural light, water, materiality and craftsmanship, the framing of views to the landscape, tactile experiences and natural climate control.

Key features of the space include:

  • Child-sized pathways
  • Customisable walls with hidden spaces, display boards, reading nooks and pop-outs
  • Low windows providing views for those sitting on the ground
  • Quiet spaces to retreat
  • An internal courtyard features a waterway designed into the natural topography bringing the landscape in and providing opportunities for students to learn about sustainability in action