Preston South Primary School | Kerstin Thompson Architects

2024 National Architecture Awards Program

Preston South Primary School | Kerstin Thompson Architects

Traditional Land Owners
Wurundjeri Woiwurrung People


Educational Architecture
Sustainable Architecture
APM Group
Thurston Empsom
Project summary

Preston South Primary School’s pursuit of sustainability reached a pinnacle with the ambitious decision to design their new building to Passivhaus standards. More than creating a new building it was testament to the school’s unwavering commitment to fostering positive change, both within school community and the broader community.

The school’s educational philosophy, embedded in actively teaching the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), laid the foundation for this sustainable architectural journey.

Within the constraints of a tight campus site, a compact footprint, the vertical building maximised space for various educational needs, incorporating collaborative, informal, and outdoor learning areas, including specialised science spaces, quiet zones, break areas, administration, reception, and staff areas. The indoor environment prioritised long-term health and well-being, emphasising connections between indoor and outdoor spaces, ample natural light, outside air provision, and the use of natural materials with low embodied energy.

Victorian Architecture Awards Accolades
Commendation for Sustainable Architecture
Victorian Jury Citation

Commendation for Sustainable Architecture

Preston South Primary School acts as a conduit for imparting, championing, and advocating sustainability objectives to its students, the broader community, and the extensive building program overseen by the Victorian School Building Authority.  

Designed with Passivhaus principles, the jury was impressed by the commitment to operational sustainability, notably underpinned by a rigorous and pragmatic integration of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Addressing climate and material sustainability, social responsibility, resources, and equity by cleverly weaving the school’s pedagogical philosophy. 

We absolutely love our new school building. A lot of creativity and innovation has been attributed to linking pedagogy and space. The teaching and learning spaces support student engagement, inspire creative thinking and collaboration.

Teachers are able to teach in a variety of learning settings/spaces utilising varied resources that cater to our diverse students and their learning styles.

We love the blend of active, passive and outdoor learning areas that accommodate whole class, group and individual learning scenarios. The connection between indoor and outdoor learning are conducive to exploration and a sense of adventure.

Project Practice Team

Kerstin Thompson, Design Architect
Kelley Mackay, Director of Projects
Lloyd McCathie, Project Associate
Viet Truong, Project Lead
Darcy Dunn, Architect
Margot Watson, Graduate of Architecture
Thomas Huntingford, Architectural Assistant

Project Consultant and Construction Team

AS James, Geotechnical Engineer
Before Compliance, DDA Consultant
Cundall, Services Consultant
Grun/Inhabit, ESD Consultant
On Paper, Education Consultant
Philip Chun, Building Surveyor
PlanCost, Quantity Surveyor
RP Infrastructure, Project Manager
Surfcoast, Land Surveyor
Tree Dimensions, Arborist

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