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Montagne Centre

In 2015 year 7-8 students will be beginning the school journey as they arrive on the schools site and will be housed in the first stage of buildings. These facilities consists of a village of pavilions to house the middle years centre, they connect directly with their adjacent wetlands and are embedded in their landscape like nests amongst the reeds.

The pavilions project out into the wetlands but remain grounded in the site through heavy rammed earth walls towards the schools centre. These striking elements are complements with a textural palette of warm timbers and bold colours. The project utilised recycled timber elements within its structure, which provide a layer of history and depth to the new buildings.

The pavilions are designed to create an environment of nurturing and community, and create flexible learning spaces that are succinct with the reality of 21st century education.

Winner of 2015 VIC Chapter CEFPI - New Individual Facility


The Montagne Centre for middle years students is the first of a series of new school buildings planned for the green fields site of Marist College, Bendigo. The form of the building and its relationship to the surrounding landscape demonstrate Y2 Architectures careful consideration of the needs of a new school community, the Marist Hermitage origins and symbolism as well as the challenges and opportunities posed by the site. Comprising two pavilions linked by a central gallery space the building is long and low. It hugs the edge of permanent wetlands created by Y2 Architecture with Three Acres Landscape Architects in an area of the site prone to flooding. On the east side of the Centre two timber decks and a small pier stretch out over the water helping to anchor the building to its setting. This aspect of the school, which is visible from the road, is a concrete expression of the philosophy of boundary less learning fostered at Marist College.

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. Large folding glass doors open onto outdoor learning spaces around the building including an undercover assembly area with tiered seating, an outdoor kitchen and dining area, and two deck areas overlooking the wetlands.

The wetlands environment is used as an outdoor classroom where students monitor the biology of the water. The deck spaces are tranquil social spaces perfect for relaxing, watching birdlife and listening to frog calls. They are also outdoor workspaces. Marist College selected workbenches on castors that can be wheeled out onto the decks when students wish to work outside. Inside the building there are opportunities for students to study its structural mechanics, which are revealed by exposed recycled timber posts, beams and roof trusses. The use of timber together with the rammed earth walls and perforated ply ceiling panels throughout bring material warmth to the interior spaces, and create a cohesive and neutral background for the colour and vibrancy of the students work and activities.

The overwhelming success of this building and its outdoor settings is their great potential to be adapted for specific projects and learning investigations. The Montagne Centres permissive design also means the building will to respond to the evolution of Marist Colleges distinct culture as continues to grow and develop - Text sourced from official CEFPI award certificate.


- CEFPI Award 2015 - Category 2 Winner