Montessori International College - Round House (ELC, Primary & Admin)
The material palette for the round house (Primary school) was chosen for low toxicity, durability, thermal and acoustic properties. To meet the low cost budget, wherever possible the structural material also provides the tactile finished surface – minimising finishing work and painting. Double brick cavity, load-bearing walls provide the structure and earthy aesthetic for the learning environments. The external veneer of feature brick comprises a mixed blend of 2/3 “Frost” and 1/3 “Moondust" by PGH. These light toned bricks reduce solar absorption whilst referencing the colour of the sandy soils of the site. The internal brick veneer is “Biscuit” by PGH, providing a light clay hue of natural warmth. The wire cut surface of the internal bricks was used as the feature face to give texture to the classroom walls.
The circular courtyard plan protects the indoor and external learning environments, from the existing and forecast 2018 traffic noise. The walls of the Round House are double brick insulated cavity to achieve the 50db noise reduction rating more economically compared to multiwall timber construction; to mediate the projected noise.
The insulated brick walls and exposed concrete slabs’ thermal mass to classrooms helps to control ambient air temperature by moderating outside extremes.
Ventilation and passive design
Campus site planning optimises building orientation northwards for natural daylighting, ventilation and subtropical thermal passive design.
Acoustic modelling of traffic noise from Maroochydore Road, required by the development approval showed that the Round House could not use natural ventilation in the classrooms (windows and doors have to remain closed) or a classroom layout with permeable indoor-outdoor form. A new plan was generated to respond to the new data. A walled round house protects the indoor and external learning environments, external verandas and courtyard from the existing and forecast 2018 traffic noise. The courtyard then offers users the opportunity to open classroom doors when conditions are favourable.
The encircling colonnade around the courtyard are screened in mesh to allow endemic climbing vines to grow and create a green wall to help filter air pollutants. The roadside landscape buffer will also filter traffic pollutants from the air. Within each learning environment 0.75sqm of indoor potted plants will assist in improving indoor air quality.