The design of the building
is inspired by the ‘weaving’ of the cultures that defined
Selkirk Avenue in the past century, from Jewish and
Polish to Aboriginal. The patternmaking characteristics
of different cultures was a vehicle that guided us
in creating a building that is not culture-specific
but culture-inclusive, and that weaves itself into
The design is a response to the particular context of Selkirk Avenue – one of the culturally and historically richest streets in the city. Our design creates an identifiable yet integrated entity on the street by incorporating a perforated wall that respects the scale of the adjacent buildings, and creates different levels of privacy and separation between the building users and pedestrians. This ‘mediating’ wall allows for views in and out from the public spaces, and limits this interaction in those spaces that require privacy.
The building scheme incorporates a courtyard that expands the functionality and use of the classrooms, library and workshops. In conjunction with the courtyard, the front and back walls create a ‘breathable’ building that allows for natural cross ventilation throughout the shoulder seasons and the summer.