Constructed in 1883, the Sturt Street School served the southwest corner of Adelaide for more than 100 years until its closure in 1996. Disused for more than 10 years and in a very poor state of dilapidation, the project has seen the conservation and adaptive reuse of the original building to create the first ‘integrated early learning centre’ in Adelaide. The centre combines childcare, preschool and infants school facilities.
GHD Woodhead was commissioned by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure to design the Sturt Street Community School redevelopment. The altered internal spaces of the existing building were returned to their original layout by removing the internal walls, opening up the space and creating more flexibility within the classrooms. New buildings containing access, services and amenities blocks were located on the back of the existing building. The buildings are separated by lightweight glazed links, allowing the historic building fabric to retain its identity and integrity while maximising the penetration of natural daylight.
The proportions of the new buildings were designed to reduce the imposing scale of the existing Victorian structure and are more colourful to better integrate with the children’s outdoor play areas. The centre of the building has been opened up and features a new contemporary stair, letting in daylight and acting as a principal axis point from the main entrance through to the outdoor playing area at the rear.