Inner Sydney High School

Inner Sydney High School

The new Inner Sydney High School, which occupies a site on the corner of Cleveland and Chalmers Streets in the urban inner city suburb of Surry Hills, creates a new future focused high-rise school, with a mix of new and refurbished buildings.
From European occupation, the site has always been a school and before occupation, a camping ground, therefore it was important that the new built forms were complimentary to the existing heritage fabric and stories of the site. The result is a diverse range of learning spaces - each with their own specific character which tells the story of the site’s long history.

It was important that the bulk and scale required of a large school accommodating 1200 students on a tight urban site, did not overwhelm the existing heritage campus and surrounding public domain. Conceptually the form was conceived as a series of identifiable elements carefully articulated to respond to the scale of the existing context, creating a campus sitting comfortably within Prince Alfred Park.

The elements of the new building form consist of;
A series of landscaped terraces(from lower ground to level 1), form an open podium and public entry forecourt connecting all
levels of the heritage buildings whilst blurring the boundary between park and school.
The Studio; suspended above the terraces, is a large flexible two storey volume, articulated in scale to respond to the proportions and sit as a backdrop to the heritage fabric.
Interconnecting these elements is the concept of the tree that grows and links, taking the form of the main vertical circulation spine.
Adjacent sits the Verandah; (on the northern face of the nine level main tower volume) providing a series of open outdoor learning areas overlooking the park.
To the south sit the Clouds; two three storey volumes of connected learning spaces hovering above Cleveland Street.
Interspersed between these elements are external learning and recreational spaces, from elevated undercrofts, between the
cloud volumes, to an open outdoor multipurpose sports court above the studio and protected courtyards formed by the heritage buildings and articulated by the landscaped terraces of the podium. Finally a basement level accommodates the multipurpose Gymnasium and Movement studio.
The new school presents a new vertical typology with a bespoke educational model specifically developed collaboratively with educational consultants, fjmtstudio and a selected panel of experts. The school is one of the very few precedents globally of a true high-rise school.
The pedagogy considered one of the fundamental constraints of a high-rise school - circulation through an approach to timetabling and arrangement of a diversity of learning spaces.
While the spaces themselves have not been designed with specific stages in mind, it is proposed that the building will support stage related learning via the creation of middle and senior years learning hubs distributed across three levels of the tower with the lower years accommodated within the heritage buildings. This creates a natural sense of intimacy and community, reducing circulation throughout the tower and enabling targeted pedagogical approaches and student management.

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