Aldinga Payinthi College | Swanbury Penglase

Aldinga Payinthi College | Swanbury Penglase | Photographer: Brad Griffin

2023 National Architecture Awards Program

Aldinga Payinthi College | Swanbury Penglase

Traditional Land Owners

South Australia

COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture
Urban Design
Sarah Constructions
Brad Griffin
Marguerite Bartolo
Sam Noonan
Project summary

Aldinga Payinthi College, is a contemporary inclusive school + community hub for children, young people, families and the wider community to connect, participate and learn. The ‘birth to year 12’ school provides infrastructure to support the future urban growth of the region, accommodating 1675 students, including 100 inclusive students + a 75-place children’s centre, supported by 210 teaching + support staff.

The campus is an extension of the Aldinga town centre, supporting the adjacent community sports complex, linking the town centre to planned neighbouring residential developments, connected to a major regional road corridor + future rail corridor.

The school endeavours to contribute to the wider community’s wellbeing, providing targeted support services, wellbeing programs, disability support + therapeutic services. Civic facilities include a performing arts theatre, library and entrepreneurial hub, VET training facilities, sporting and event facilities including a gymnasium, competition hardcourts, soccer fields, with junior + senior ovals that are all available for community use + events.

South Australia Architecture Awards Accolades
COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture
Commendation for Urban Design
South Australia Jury Citation


Aldinga Payinthi College is at once school and community hub.  It serves a wide range of age groups engaged in formal learning and social activities and is designed to expand with the growing community.

The buildings are ordered to provide clear entry and community spaces, flanked by learning areas.  Early learning and primary areas of the campus are more articulated and smaller in scale, with the middle school and secondary facilities housed in larger buildings.

This hierarchy of building scale and articulation is reinforced through use of materials.  The central, civic buildings have wide pan Finesse® Boulevard® and Prominence® cladding profiles, with the dark grey COLORBOND® steel Monument® contrasting strongly with the near-white COLORBOND® steel Surfmist®. This creates a striking and recognisable heart to the campus.

Fielders® Spanform™ cladding, also in COLORBOND® steel Surfmist®, is used on the teaching buildings.  This profile’s squarer rib is domestic in scale but crisper and more durable than standard corrugated cladding.

The combination of these steel cladding profiles and the COLORBOND® steel finish offers long-term low maintenance and robustness to withstand the active use expected in educational environments.  The way in which they are used creates a harmonious campus that provides a sense of place and civic pride for the community.

Urban Design

Aldinga Payinthi College offers a contemporary learning environment that will support a growing region south of Adelaide and reflects the college pillars of Inspire, Connect and Belong.

In placing civic and communal buildings at the heart of the school campus, the broader community are encouraged to enter and use the space as their own. First Nations culture is embedded throughout with a focus on Kaurna language. Connection to nature is integral to the learning process and accessible to all.

With learning communities linked through a central meeting place, the design allows a sense of community to be experienced across site for educators + learners alike. With de-privatised spaces, learning opportunities allow for inside + outside learning along with the use of break out spaces. The thoughtful design has created a calm environment in which learners are aware of each other, their impact on others + their connection to our hills face. By working with this design, we have been able to limit disruption (i.e. no sirens), activate extra spaces (i.e. gallery) + ensure the spaces are utilised in the way they were intended.

Project Practice Team

Frank Smith, Lead Landscape Architect
Lana Greer, Landscape Architect
Marguerite Bartolo, Landscape Architect

Project Consultant and Construction Team

Aspect Studio, Landscape Consultant
BCA Engineers, Services Engineers
Bickerton Masters (Formally ‘Hede Architects’), Inclusive Learning Sapce Collaborating Architects
Brad Griffin, Photographer
Cundall, ESD Consultant
GHD, Civil, Strutcural + Services Engineers
ISS, Facility Management
Katnich Dodd, Certifier
Kevin Richards + Lynne Symons, Educationalists
Mantirri Design, Aboriginal Artist + Landscape Architect
Masterplan, Planner
Pedavoli Architects, Bid Phase Collaborating Architects
Sam Noonan, Photographer
Sonus, Acoustic Engineer
TESA Education, Consortium Team
Tetris Capital + DIF, Finance

Connect with Swanbury Penglase
Aldinga Payinthi College | Swanbury Penglase | Photographer: Sam Noonan

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