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Montagne Centre, Marist College Bendigo

Montagne Centre Marist College Bendigo

CEFPI VIC 2015 & A4LE Australasia 2016 & International 2016

Montagne Centre at Marist College Bendigo was awarded CEFPI Winner of Category 2 - New Major Facility in the Victorian Region in 2015, the Australasian winner in 2016 under A4LE, and went on to also win the International award for New Major Facility, 2016.

Juror's comments:

The Montagne Centre for middle years students at Marist College, Bendigo embodies the design team's careful consideration of the needs of a new school community, the school's Marist Hermitage and symbolism, as well as the challenges and opportunities posed by the site. The key pedagogical driver for The Montagne Centre design was the removal of physical barriers to learning experience in order to promote learning activity anywhere and everywhere. This is reflected in the variety of spaces and settings designed to support various modes of learning and student interaction, including food preparation, art and science investigations, private study and small group discussion.

A high degree of transparency and visual connection plus a sense of physical freedom have been achieved within and between the interior spaces of the building via a system of glazed sliding doors and writable sliding wall panels. These can be opened, partially closed, or fully closed to expand or enclose specific spaces and settings as required for different activities.

Comprising two pavilions linked by a central gallery space the building is long and low. Large folding glass doors open onto outdoor learning spaces around the building including an under cover assembly area with tiered seating, and an outdoor kitchen and dining area. On the east side of the Centre two deck areas and a small pier stretch out over permanent wetlands to create tranquil outdoor spaces perfect for natural science studies, socialising and relaxation. The use of recycled
timber posts, beams and roof trusses, together with rammed earth walls and perforated ply ceiling panels throughout bring material warmth to the interior spaces, and create a cohesive neutral background for the colour and vibrancy of the students' work and activities.

The overwhelming success of The Montagne Centre and its outdoor settings is their great potential to be adapted for specific projects and learning investigations. Its permissive design will also allow the building to respond to the evolution of Marist College's distinct culture as it continues to grow and develop.