Darlington Public School

Darlington Public School

Darlington is a small school located on the fringe of the city of Sydney, near Redfern and vibrant and cosmopolitan Newtown. Currently the school is undergoing a redevelopment and a rebuild of the school site, resulting in the transition from traditional classrooms to learning hubs. The school has been radically transformed, making way for a new and contemporary learning environment, creating a safe and welcoming atmosphere, fostering a sense of belonging amongst the close knit community of students, their families and school staff. The school’s inclusive culture is a key part of the new design, acknowledging and respecting children from diverse family and cultural backgrounds.
Darlington Public School is being upgraded to deliver new facilities and provide for growing student enrolments in the area. To support Darlington Public’s tradition of excellence in teaching, and high expectations in learning, the school’s new facilities have improved the learning spaces and given the teachers modern flexible spaces to teach in innovative and flexible learning styles.
Greeting you at the entrance is a strong linear frontage. Above it sits the geometric saw-tooth roofline of the three-storey addition. This has been specifically designed to respond to the scale and form of the surrounding terraces and echo the industrial warehouses and nearby locomotive workshops. The dark brick facade pays homage to the school’s original 1970’s architecture and the local terraces and the industrial buildings’ materiality.
Once inside, the entry’s more rigid geometrical facade gives way to soft undulating curves. The stunning wave-like form of perforated gold mesh, wraps its way around the three-storey building, allowing dappled light inside and a filtered golden vista out. The curved facade gently embraces the important and carefully planned, large outdoor environment.
Play is significant in the design, and the second stage of the development will provide diverse play spaces in a variety of scales and settings. Each outdoor space will be overlayed for additional usages such as outdoor learning. A large basketball court, areas to rest, decks, pathways, shortcuts, and a large protected courtyard that spills off the school hall is to be constructed, allowing for sheltered outdoor events.
The design also embraces the rich indigenous culture of Darlington Public School as well as the artistic heritage of the school. This was achieved in the first instance, by preserving the extensive collection of aboriginal artworks and featuring the art in the classrooms, hall and reception entry. Secondly the indigenous art murals painted on the walls of the original school building were photographed and kept for reference to be repainted on the walls of the new school. This will add a layer of history, keeping the important murals alive for the next generation of students.
Landscaping has been carefully considered and will be integrated into the next stage of the development. Specifically selected indigenous plants will feature in the community garden. The garden will be used to teach the students how plants are used in indigenous cooking and culture.
The improvements to the school will ultimately provide new teaching spaces and learning hubs, a new hall, library, administration and staff facilities, canteen and covered outdoor play areas, as well as a preschool and a community clinic. By providing the school with a strong identity and a sense of place, it supports the school in its vision to be an inclusive, community focused campus, that nurtures each student as an individual, in a learning environment that is both supportive and challenging.
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