Docklands Primary School Concept revealed

Laurence DragomirNovember 1, 20170 min read

Last week the State Goverment released images of the initial designs for the new Docklands Primary School, which is being designed by COX Architecture in conjunction with McGregor Coxall. This follows on from a community engagement process earlier this year, in which the State Government invited submissions outlining aspirations and ideas for the school. 

The community engagement process gave local families and the greater community the opportunity to help inform the design of the school by contributing to the school’s educational philosophy. Community feedback received during this stage was collected and passed on to the design team to help inform the design of the Docklands Primary School's Master Plan.

Prior to this, the Department of Education and Training and some specialist consultants assessed the need for primary and secondary schools in Docklands.

The review covered the Docklands and the immediate surrounding suburbs of North Melbourne, West Melbourne, Melbourne, Parkville and Flemington, and firmly identified the need for a Primary School to service the area.

Docklands Primary School Concept revealed
What the new Docklands Primary School might look like. Image: COX Architecture

The site of the Docklands Primary school is 259-269 Footscray Road, on the corner of Little Docklands Drive. Its choice was due to its good walking, cycling and public transport connections, whilst the site itself was also large enough to accommodate a modern primary school with outdoor spaces.

The new Docklands Primary School design includes outdoors learning and play terraces, a competition-size indoor court for basketball and netball, and a library and an art room. Its classrooms will be designed to be flexible and responsive, including spaces to support teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

It is exciting to see the new Docklands Primary School start to take shape. The school’s design incorporates community feedback and the latest in architecture techniques to create a great local school that will support local families and the local community for decades to come.

We know our state is growing and that is why we are building new schools right across the state.

Minister for Education James Merlino

The COX Architecture + McGregor Coxall concept for the school is centred around a 'landscape for learning' concept that includes gardens and outdoor learning spaces that bring education out of the typical classroom environment. This concept is a departure from early concepts developed for a vertical school by Hayball architects which you can read about here.

Docklands Primary School Concept revealed
Exploded axonometric of program requirements. Image: COX

Design work for the new school is progressing with detailed architectural design now under way to refine the school’s internal layout.

Docklands Community Engagement Participation

  • 4 week engagement
  • 4 community workshops and focus groups
  • 50+ people attended the workshops and focus groups
  • 118 survey responses
  • 106 subscribers to the mailing list
  • 157 comment board votes
  • 1,445 unique website visits

The community engagement process found the following;

  • There is a high level of community support for the new primary school.
  • Architecture and landscape: People are seeking a sustainable school building. They would like to see strong natural elements incorporated, including trees and vegetation. Participants suggested making the best use of the available space through vertical design and innovative ideas such as rooftop gardens, terraces and integration with the surrounding environment.
  • Play and social: There is a desire for students to have play spaces that are open and connected to nature.
  • Community connection: The new school provides an opportunity to create and enhance a sense of community belonging and identity in Docklands. This could be achieved through community spaces at the school, and connecting students to local community facilities.
  • Accessibility: Safe and easy access to the school for pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users and vehicles is important.
  • Curriculum, learners and learning: There is support for an inclusive curriculum that offers a wide range of practical and specialist skills, including a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
  • Celebration of multiculturalism and social diversity is an important consideration.
  • There is a high level of community interest in future secondary provision in the area.

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.
Primary School
Learning Landscape
Cox Architecture
McGregor Coxall
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