Avila College



Founded in 1965 Avila College is a Catholic secondary school for girls nestled in the leafy suburb of Mt Waverley in Melbourne. The development of Avila College’s Ballygriffin Senior Learning Centre reflects the school’s commitment to twenty-first-century learning and teaching, the Catholic ethos and community spirit of the College and the evolution of spaces that are stimulating, contemporary, safe, welcoming and future-oriented.

The school engaged Law Architects to design the new Ballygriffin Senior Learning Centre and felt that it was important that both students and staff had a voice in the design process as student agency is integral to the culture of Avila College. The school recognised that their senior students would benefit from an environment that was adaptive to different class sizes, encouraged collaboration, allowed for independent study and promoted consultation and interaction with staff. This aligned with their pedagogical approach and the diversity of educational offerings at the VCE/VM level, where the facility fostered community connections and prepared the students for their future pathways.

The building has had a tangible impact on student behaviours and attitudes. Intuitively, students knew how to use the spaces cued by design. Zones designed to encourage collaboration, project work, peer-to-peer learning and independent study were immediately used as intended. Interestingly the school found that many students eligible for early dismissal during free periods are now choosing to stay on-site to study and collaborate. There is a strong sense of community within the senior cohorts and proud ownership of their space. The flexibility of the spaces has also provided teachers with greater agility to adapt, differentiate and access resources to suit student needs.

Planex’s xLocker2 was used throughout the Ballygriffin Senior Learning Centre positioned in close proximity to classrooms providing personal storage for the students. The flexibility of xLocker2 allowed for different height lockers to sit next to one another and wrap around corners of classrooms.  The lockers were also undercover externally, allowing students to access belongings without disturbing any class activities in the flexible learning spaces. The deep ocean Interpon-textura powder coat finish contrasts well with the natural materials of concrete, timber and rust-red undercover ceiling.

The Lehman horizontal dial lock (fixed code 59) was selected which is a popular choice in school environments as the lock self-scrambles upon opening and closing making a secure locker for the students. Servicing the lockers is greatly reduced as there are no batteries or key management required.

Link to project click here.
Photography by Tess Kelly