Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School
by McBride Charles Ryan

| 14 comments

Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School by McBride Charles Ryan

This shimmering silhouette in the shape of three overlapping houses is in fact a junior school for boys in a Melbourne suburb.

Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School by McBride Charles Ryan

The two-storey school building is faced in glossy black tiles and was designed by Australian architects McBride Charles Ryan.

Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School by McBride Charles Ryan

Inside the extruded silhouette the school provides six classrooms, breakout spaces, a meeting room and a staff room.

Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School by McBride Charles Ryan

Classrooms on the first floor have curved ceilings that wrap into the pitched roofs above, while walls in ground floor classrooms have rounded edges.

Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School by McBride Charles Ryan

A long timber bench lines the corridor that links ground floor rooms.

Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School by McBride Charles Ryan

Similar buildings from the Dezeen archive include a hotel that looks like a pile of houses and a furniture showroom that looks like stacked barns.

Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School by McBride Charles Ryan

Photography is by John Gollings.

Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School by McBride Charles Ryan

Here are some more details from the architects:


Penleigh and Essendon Grammar
School – Junior Boys Building

Brief + Design:
Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School began in an Italianate mansion on windy hill, opposite the Essendon Footy Club. This building is exceptional in a residential area where Federation housing dominates.

Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School by McBride Charles Ryan

Slowly the school has accumulated much of the property in the block bounded by Nicholson, Raleigh, Napier & Fletcher Streets. Many of the ‘houses’ are now occupied by the school. This new project, a two storey year 5 & 6 block with 3 classrooms above and below, is an important addition to the school and public interface to Nicholson Street.

Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School by McBride Charles Ryan

We wanted this building to acknowledge and exploit its unusual urban condition. All wanted this building to be a unique acknowledgment of an important threshold stage in the boy’s school life. All wanted more than just good accommodation, and we wanted a building of the imagination.

Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School by McBride Charles Ryan

Click above for larger image

This proposal takes just the silhouette of a Federation Home, it is up-scaled, extruded and sliced. The front of the building might be described perhaps as a haunted house, the centre (the extrusion) is vaguely a Shinto Shrine, the rear (which interfaces with the schools ovals), if you squint - The Big Top.

Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School by McBride Charles Ryan

Click above for larger image

The planning is arranged so as to provide northern courtyards to the ground floor classrooms, upstairs the corridor is switched to reduce overlooking to the adjacent neighbour. The ground floor Grade 5 classrooms have rich deep colours and an earthy ambience. The first floor is ethereal. With more than a nod to Utzons Bagsvaerd Church the complex silhouette is smoothed to a cloudlike shape. The extruded chimney a source of light and a means of naturally ventilating the classroom space.

Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School by McBride Charles Ryan

Click above for larger image

Principal Architects: Rob McBride, Debbie-Lyn Ryan
Project team: Benedikt Josef, Amelia Borg, Natasha Maben.

  • pip

    Channeling Jorn Utzon, nice!

  • Guest

    A bit like Bagsvard church by Jorn Utzon :)

  • amisal

    and why only for boys?

    • Ben

      Being a junior school for boys, it seems reasonable. Don't just stare at the pretty pictures.

    • guy

      Because its a boys school.?

      I don't believe in single sex education much either, but its popular in some oppressive theocracies. And Australia.

      • Jasper

        guy-PEGS is separate boys and girls school up until year 6 , there are extra cirricula activities with both girls & boys from primary till senior levels. It formerly is co-ed for years 11-12 in preparation for university. It is a private school, you'll find most private schools in Australia are gender specific however become co-ed later. Nothing to do with theocracy and Australia.

        I'm a former student of the sister school Penleigh from prep till year 12 and now a practising Melbourne Architect.

  • Guest in London

    really good project! for an architect from melb but living away from home, it brings such pride and joy to see projects like this. well done.

  • Guy

    the conceptual position of taking a federation style house silhouette and extruding is weak. Meant to fit into the historical/architectural backdrop? It doesn’t. Yet the interiors look good and functionally considered. I think the architects should have worked inside out, using interior forms defined by their use, to shape the exterior.

  • h.a.

    am I the only one that thinks that what it was a good idea for a church is not a good idea for a school?

  • https://www.facebook.com/anthonypharrington Tony Harrington

    It's a very interesting, beautiful project. I think the interiors are much more interesting than the exterior and I don't know if they relate to each other all that well…

  • Eric

    Funny, seemes suitable for kids, and it should be a little bit better to make the ceiling more soft.

  • http://twitter.com/danbulgen @danbulgen

    the interior looks good… aesthetically and functionally but the exterior, particularly the end which is suppose to be the silhouette, is just ugly.

  • http://www.maxgerthel.com Max

    Love those undulating ceilings inside!! Playful and inspiring, as a school should be. The lighting should have been better integrated though, and the outside is less easily praised, too formal and weird.

    But I fully agree with some of you people, it should be for girls too! As if we would be better off not knowing the other sex until we were teenagers, hah! You could get neurotic for less.

  • John

    i love reading the misunderstanding comments of the old world….enjoy your recession guys!