Dianella Heights Primary School Library

Beaman Street, Dianella, Western Australia

This project brought us up against every educator’s biggest challenge. We had to find a way to make learning fun – and do it on time and on budget.

Dianella Heights Primary School was built in the 1960’s, and was in desperate need of a new library for its young pupils. As a design for a state school with a tight budget, the project would need to consider not only the immediate construction of the building but also its future maintenance costs.

We began with the Modernist architecture of the surrounding buildings and designed the library to match. A flat, low-pitched roof opposes the slope of the land, making the building quite imposing from the outside and giving the impression that it is rising from the hillside. As a place of learning, the library would need to be engaging for students as well as functional. The furniture and fitout were robust and cost-effective, but also infused with plays of colour and form to make the space interesting and fun for kids. Sections of brick were finished with bright orange paint or tiles, and the smaller children’s furnishings are reminiscent of coloured toy blocks.

Face brickwork and corrugated metal offered a low-cost, low-maintenance solution for the main structure, with low, deep eaves to offer protection from the elements around the entrance. The project also involved installing a new access ramp to connect the existing school with the sports ovals, and a link to the new building on the other side of oval. With so many disparate elements to the project and the school calendar marching on, we were very proud when the library was completed on time and on budget.