Parkdale Primary School
Victorian Department of Education
Project Budget: $4.2 million
Status: Completed April 2012
Kennedy Nolan Architects were commissioned to develop a masterplan to modernise existing inflexible learning spaces and to enhance the school’s ability to provide pedagogical approaches that align with the needs of 21st century learners.
The master plan evolved from a consultative process involving the School Community, School Council Members and Kennedy Nolan Architects and was approved in April 2009.
The recently completed works involved the creation of a new central quadrangle framed by new learning neighbourhoods and the original refurbished brick 1920s school house. The central quadrangle provides a new school heart, strongly connected to the surrounding flexible teaching spaces that can also host local community groups.
A new architecturally significant and exciting Art / Discovery Room was created at the front of the school that complements the existing 1920s brick school building and enhances the Nepean Highway frontage, increasing the public profile of Parkdale Primary School and easily accommodating after-hours uses.
Photography by Emma Cross
Bouverie Street Childcare Centre
University of Melbourne
Project Budget: $7 million
Status: Planning Permit Application lodged April 2013
Kennedy Nolan Architects have been engaged by the University of Melbourne to design a new building for an 80 place childcare centre with additional levels for childcare administration and university office area.
As principal consultant with a multi-disciplinary team Kennedy Nolan are developing a proposal that is sustainable and integrated with the university campus and community. The design is a highly considered and responsive outcome delivering to the various needs of the client groups and various regulatory bodies.
The proposal aims to create place and spaces that are inclusive, creating a sense of belonging and opportunities of discovering moments within the architecture to enhance the experience. The design intends on providing opportunities that will encourage and foster play, social interactions and encounters of varying levels of challenge within their day to day play and activity.
The design adopts passive and active sustainable design features to ensure the indoor and outdoor environments are natural and are efficient in their operation, energy usage and general environmental impact.
This building on a large site in Smith Street Collingwood is due to commence construction soon. The complex will accommodate a large retail tenancy, office space and 76 apartments. The site has frontage to three streets and the differing scale and character of these streets has resulted in a building which is composed of separate and complementary parts. Our principle motivation was to avoid a sprawling and formally complex building and so the program was reduced to three discrete parts – a steel framed podium responding to the scales and rhythms of Smith Street’s heritage streetscape, a rational residential tower with a deep planted edge to the north and a light and glassy face to impressive city views and thirdly, a terra-cotta clad prismatic form with cascading gardens and openings abstracted to reinforce overall compositional unity and eliminate the legibility of individual apartments. In conjunction with the complexities of delivering a complex mixed use building which deals with the constraints of planning and heritage we have been careful to incorporate high levels of interior amenity to the dwellings – bringing to bear our experience and aptitude in making high quality domestic space.
Planning Permit approved January 2013
Imagery by Scharp
kennedy nolan_a view
university of melbourne, september 2011
kennedy nolan: the art of a wall
In 1934, German architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich collaborated in the design of a mining exhibit as part of the Deutsches Volk, deutsche Arbeit (German people, German work) exhibition in Berlin. As a way of undermining the none-too-subtle mood of nationalism, Elaine Hochman called it a “rebuke”, Mies and Reich used mural-sized black and white photographs and three freestanding walls of different height and thickness, one of salt and two of coal (one anthracite coal, the other bituminous coal). The design is not well known. But it should be. The intentions are revelatory. Materiality, tactility, porosity, luminosity and visuality were the profound messages of this subtle ode to art in the earthly stuff of industry.
In 2011, the architecture of the Melbourne-based practice of Kennedy Nolan is the subject of an exhibition in the Wunderlich Gallery in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne. Patrick Kennedy (BPD B.Arch Hons 1997 University of Melbourne) and Rachel Nolan (BPD B.Arch Hons 1993 University of Melbourne) have used a huge wall-sized mural of black and white photographs of their built projects, a free-standing wall that is ‘thick’ - an aluminium frame covered in fabric - and a lower wall, almost a plinth, whose top is travertine marble. The intentions are similar. Materiality, tactility, porosity, luminosity and visuality: these are the interests of Kennedy Nolan in the making of architecture.
What sets Kennedy Nolan apart from other practices in Melbourne is their investigation into the art of the wall. While the work of Mies is a referent, it is only a ghost of one. What appears to interest Kennedy Nolan more are the textural walls of the 1960s, when modernism was undergoing critique from within. One can’t see into the exhibition from outside the glazed entry door. You have to go in. Presented with a blank wall, the concerns are not about transparency but about the enclosure of space, the maze and the route. Walls allow the architect/artist to control space.
Similar concerns were explored in Melbourne in the 1960s where specifically local responses to the search for the human in the modern were realized in the limestone blocks and return walls and minimal colour palette of McGlashan & Everist’s Heide II, in the stretched modular silica lime bricks and contemporary gentility of Neil Clerehan’s houses, in the travertine floors and metaphysical stillness of Guilford Bell’s salons, in the grey concrete block that updated the grim sternness of Victorian bluestone, and in the architectural signature of black, used only by those confident that their work was still modern. Kennedy Nolan explores this history of local materiality, unafraid to return to us the rustic and the abstract of white painted bagged brick walls and the rough-sawn. And also hopeful that everyday life might contain the same serendipity promised by the crazy paving of 1950s outdoor living. But at the same time, what is different is that Kennedy Nolan decides that the wall might not only enclose space. It might be art too.
On the travertine plinth are scale models of architectural walls. They are maquettes for larger works of art – they are sculptures. This is what Mies would never do with his walls nor would those Melbourne architects of the 1960s. Instead Kennedy Nolan fold Aldo van Eyck’s famous experiential ground planes, his circles on the ground - his essentialist thresholds – upwards and around corners. At a school, they become windows for children to look through, even crawl through, or in a house, they become holes in a roof to ponder not the ground but the sky. And a whole wall might be a painting, a number, a mural, or a perforated screen. And a roof might be held up by either a wall or a giant cruciform prop or perhaps a work of art – or are all three the same thing?
At the very entrance to the exhibition is what appears to be a table. It’s made of steel. Or is it the ghost of a piano? Or is it another maquette, a scaling down of a much larger architectural framing of a view? This exhibition reveals an important young Melbourne architectural firm testing ideas, using design as an experimental art form. At the same time, this is an art practice underpinned by deep lessons: in an understanding of the modern, in the reclaiming of homo ludens, and in an essential faith in illumination through human occupation, whether by the body, the hand or the eye.
Chair of Architecture
Director, Melbourne School of Design
 Elaine S. Hochman, Architects of Fortune: Mies van der Rohe and the Third Reich, New York: Fromm International Publishing, 1990, p.213. See also Wallis Miller, “Mies and Exhibitions”, in Terence Riley and Barry Bergdoll (eds), Mies in Berlin, New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2001, pp.342-3.
Photography by Michael Blamey
Publication Design by Ortolan
Sacred Heart Primary
Catholic Education Office
Project Budget: $3 million
Status: Completed October 2010
The upgrade and extension of Sacred Heart Primary School, transformed the school on a modest budget in a demanding timeline. The priority of the school was the upgrade and extension of a constricted 3 storey 1930s classroom block and the refurbishment of the existing parish hall. By reviewing the opportunities and constraints of the site as a whole, Kennedy Nolan was able to transform the school through a series of modest external interventions while addressing the programmatic requirements of the brief.
Work involved modifying existing classrooms to create exciting, flexible activity spaces connected to a new 3 level extension housing multi-purpose art, discovery and IT learning areas. The design addressed issues of accessibility, sustainability, traffic noise and allowed for an integrated teaching curriculum. The parish hall, used by the school, the parish and the wider community was refurbished to allow flexible use for both physical education and recreation, and a centre for performing arts.
The school site was confined, a series of incongruent disparate buildings almost randomly located around the perimeter of an asphalt desert that doubled as a playground and parish car park. There was little sense of entry or public address. A new stepped timber deck and ramp wraps a corner of the playground area, creating an outdoor learning area directly off the existing classrooms, addressing accessibility issues and defining the playground area. The school entry was softened and transformed through planting and grass pavers which identify the area as a shared pedestrian and vehicle zone, improve student safety and create a sense of public address.
Photography by Emma Cross