The challenge of conceiving a world-class learning environment whilst honouring 150 years of proud history and tradition was handed to architecture heavyweights Cox Architecture after Wesley College’s Glen Waverley College lost a series of rooms to fire in 2016. Prompting a complete assessment of the school’s needs and priorities, the ambitious architectural response was to create a multi-purpose, multi-storied space in the heart of the campus.
Completed in 2019, the Drennan Centre accommodates a whole campus library, a dedicated Year 9 precinct, a collaborative learning hub, a chapel, a science and technology hub, specialist language classrooms a new school receptions and staff rooms. Conceptualised as a series of destinations along a main street, this street was given a civic quality with terrazzo paving and a large open stair at the building’s heart, ensuring the building is easy to navigate and the safe passage of the large numbers of students entering and exiting the building.
Having previously completed multiple projects of raw concrete construction on the campus, Cox challenged the prevailing palette with the inclusion of warm and variegated bricks and also timber. Naturally, the flooring throughout the centre would need to withstand the daily tread of thousands of footsteps (not to mention the dragging of many a backpack and sports kit), so Cox looked to Fibonacci, known for its durability and suitability in high-traffic areas. In a unique and extremely successful design move, Cox utilised the Cool Stream 600mm x 600mm terrazzo, cut to five different sizes, and then laid both the standard honed finish and also the bush hammered terrazzo which has a rugged, more textural finish.
“Cool Stream was selected as the main flooring material because its palette composition of earthy hues and rounded aggregates added warmth and variety to the other materials used in the building - timber and bricks,” says Jonathan Gardiner, Director of Cox Architecture. “A sand blasted version of Cool Stream was used as a contrasting border to add interest and allow for the demarcating of break out sitting nooks and entries to classrooms.”
Fibonacci was honoured to feature in this reshaping of a learning environment, where the bricks, stone, timber and mortar, rather than simply providing spaces, act to create a connected and supporting approach to holistic learning for students and staff. “I am proud of every project we are involved in, however there are some stand-outs, and this is definitely one of them,” says Fibonacci’s Founder, Michael Karakolis. “Featuring a customisation of Cool Stream with different formats and finish texture is an underlying feature to a very sophisticated building and we congratulate both Cox Architecture and Wesley College on an A+ result.”