Padua College is a Catholic co-educational Secondary College located in Victoria, Australia. The Whyte Senior Learning Centre, marks the first stage of the Mornington Campus redevelopment as part of the masterplan developed by Baldasso Cortese in 2016. The scope included the new 3 storey senior learning centre, surrounding landscaping and associated staff carpark expansion.
Padua’s new building contains a 260-seat lecture theatre, 18 new classrooms, an exam room, seminar spaces, senior school reception, staff offices and work areas, amenities, and has an overhead link to the existing administration building.
The new facility was inspired by the bridges of Padua, and is a significant departure from the existing aesthetic of the campus, whilst remaining a physical metaphor of the bridges between secondary and further education.
A central clerestory skylight illuminates the main atrium overlooked by terraced circulation spaces and tiered seating below offering collaboration zones for students. The post-tensioned concrete superstructure with precast columns helped shape the curved floor plan, and 800mm deep band beams spanning 16.5 metres enabled the transfer of upper floors to achieve an open theatre below.
A sloping site called for bored pier and shotcrete infill retention to basement, and insitu underpinning of the adjacent library building. An aerial link bridge spanning across the interior quad driveway offers a connection to the existing administration building.
An architectural facade comprising full-height vertical fins drapes the entire building perimeter, punctuated by arched cut-aways encroaching from below and inverted from parapets above. Intricate steel detailing facilitated the complex curves demanded by the architecture and accommodate the engineering challenges of differing materials and opposing floor movements.