Lavalla Catholic College Trade Skills Centre

“Lavalla Catholic College engaged Slap Architects to help produce a funding application for the federal government Trade Skills Centre Program and design the building for the colleges specific needs.”


Client Name:                        Lavalla Catholic College

Area:                                      675m²

Construction Budget:          $1 Million

Builder:                                  Farnham Developments



Slap Architects assisted Lavalla Catholic College with the funding application for the Federal Government’s Trade Skills Centre program.  The first stage was for Slap to produce a design that met the funding requirements, and in conjunction with a Quantity Surveyor  and the college, produce an application. The college was successful in its application and then engaged SLAP to refine the design, document , and put the project out to tender and then administer the project.

The design houses engineering and construction teaching workshops, as well as materials storage, a theory room, office, C & C machine room and outdoor works spaces.

The building’s design is based on a basic steel portal frame commercial workshop but uses a palette of materials and colours that were chosen in conjunction with the school to integrate the building within the campus. The building is grounded on a red brick plinth, similar to the surrounding buildings, and uses a variety of steel colorbond cladding and clear polycarbonate windows to produce a “chequered” façade.

The interior has been softened with the use of plywood on the walls to contrast with the concrete floor and steel walls.

Nagle College Trades Skills Centre

“Slap Architects worked with Nagle College in many capacities from the funding application through to project completion.”


Client Name:                        Nagle College

Area:                                      620m² + external workshop areas

Construction Budget:          $720,000 [$1 million total project cost]

Builder:                                  Brooker Builders

Nagle College engaged Slap Architects to assist with the funding application for the Federal Government’s Trades Skills Centre Program. We initially worked with the college and the quantity surveyor to help produce an application that met the school’s needs and fitted within the funding model.

The school was successful in their application and further engaged Slap to design, document, tender and administer the project. Slap worked with the school to refine the design based on the school’s requirements for an engineering workshop, building construction workshop, two classrooms and ancillary spaces. The building also has a large external workshop area with a north orientation and large roof over to provide a flexible space that can be enjoyed all year round.

The building is designed as a standard steel portal frame shed for the workshop areas at either end with centrally located classrooms. The building uses natural tones in the use of the Colourbond Steel cladding with the steel portal members highlighted in bright yellow. The internal spaces of the workshop also use the yellow steel highlights. The internal walls are finished in plywood cladding to both visually soften the space in contrast to the concrete floors and metal walls as well as providing a robust surface that is suited to a workshop and can allow items to be directly fixed to its surface.

The classrooms use a contrast of dark and light with a highlight band of colour in the carpet.

Forestech - Advance Tafe

“Slap Architects were commissioned to design the Forestech facility to bring together three disparate cultures in the hardwood timber industry which had previously been located and working independently on the one campus. These being – Resource Management, Furniture Design and Forest Harvesting. The facility is the culmination of team work between representatives of these disciplines,  including the students and the architects.”

Project Name:




Construction Budget:

$2.1 Million


Brooker Builders

The design incorporates a ‘street’ concept to which all the activities on the campus are linked. This ensures that there is a strong interaction between the various student and staff groups. Certain deliberate planning aspects help reinforce this interaction, these are a common staff office, a café, that serves both the students and the staff, and the placement of all the classrooms in one location and not adjacent to each department. The design is linear in form following the ‘street’ that runs in an east west direction. This enables the building to follow the fall of the land and sit below the tree canopy, and more importantly to maximize the north aspect for solar access.

The visible materials are all East Gippsland timbers and were chosen for their high yield and durability. The external weatherboards are radial sawn yellow stringy bark which is untreated or finished thus reducing maintenanceRadial sawing ensures that the recovery from the log is the greatest possible, and also has the benefit of minimizing the warping and twisting that results from conventional sawing. Internal timbers such as feature grade plywood’s and flooring. Exposed timber trusses all employ local hardwoods.  The structure combines the use of timber and with some steel which reflects much of the construction of the furniture created by the students.

The other material employed extensively in the complex is corrugated iron in natural finish which has been used on the roofs and also for some of the wall cladding. This is a product that has a long association with the hardwood timber industry, especially in traditional timber mill structures.

As Forestech sits in a forest, care has been taken to minimize the effects of bush fires. Timber at the eaves level, especially on the north side, where the fire threat is the greatest, is eliminated and gutters which catch leaves have, where possible, been deleted. Decks on the north side are concrete rather than timber decking. There are no slatted base boards to buildings where sparks or wind driven embers can penetrate.

The materials were chosen to reflect the function of the building and the location of the facility.  Visible materials, where practicable, employ East Gippsland hardwood timbers.

The structure uses common bush poles won from the forest combined with timber trusses and some steel framing. The visible trusses are native hardwoods while the concealed trusses, together with the wall framing, use plantation pine framing.

The materials being generally natural are non toxic and provide a healthy building.

Mechanical systems are low technology with the emphasis on natural ventilation and passive solar design with back up from ceiling fans and small package air conditioners for specialist areas.

Forestech continues to be the home of East Gippsland’s Advance Tafe’s curriculum for conservation and land management.