Toorloo Arm Primary Multipurpose Building

“The school required a building that addressed the particular site issues”

Client Name:                        Toorloo Arm Primary School (Department of Education)

Area:                                      300m²    + ancillary works

Construction Budget:          $1.07m

Builder:                                 CADbuild Construction (Formerly CM & HM Banks Builders)


This project consists primarily of a new Multipurpose Building that includes 3 separate areas that are linked by sliding walls to form a single area. In addition, there is a canteen which serves both the multipurpose area and is open to the external space.

The works also include renovations to the art room, a new open play area central to the school that has a grassed sports surface, works to the existing basketball court including extension of the court surface with a new roof over the court, and the resurfacing of the adjacent tennis court used by the school and community. The project provides several opportunities for community integration. The addition of a canteen to the school where previously there was none has provided the school with several new avenues for community involved events, catering for community events both in the multipurpose building and externally.

One of the major design influences was the orientation of the building, is located on the Eastern side of the site with a mostly Western facing facade. The building was located on the East Boundary to provide a connection from the building to the central grassed area and to maintain sightlines from the front of the school past the main buildings to the rear oval.

As the DET does not allow for air-conditioning but does allow for heating, this orientation affected the buildings’ form, with the requirement to ensure that it did not suffer from excessive Western Summer sun exposure. The roof form extends past the building line to form a walkway around the building and to protect the Western facade from the summer sun. In addition, a large timber pergola feature provides several functions including sun protection while also allowing a line of sight through to the central grassed area from the internal space and a break from the visual bulk of the building.

The school as a whole had undergone a major building upgrade in the previous year with the completion of a BER building that changed the way that the school approached their teaching and educational methodologies as they had previously only had single portable classrooms. As the school students and teachers used this new building their understanding of the opportunities that these new spaces afforded grew. This, in turn, helped to inform their brief for the new development. The school wished to subscribe to the model of flexible spaces with central areas that could be shared by single or multiple classes. This informed the design layout of the rooms in the new building.

Nano Nagle Learning Centre

“The Nano Nagle Learning Centre is a new building that replaces the school’s aging stock and embraces the current teaching methodologies.”

Client Name: Nagle College Bairnsdale

Area: 980² + ancillary works

Construction Budget: $1.9m

Builder: Brooker Builders

The school required a new building that included 8 classrooms, a staff room, audio-visual presentation area and associated toilet facilities. The design reflects the current teaching pedagogy of multifunctional educational spaces, that can accommodate different modes of teaching. These include traditional classrooms with students facing a teacher, group teaching between classrooms, and one on one break out areas. This is achieved through a shared central area that can be used as a break out space from the classrooms, operable walls and large sliding doors that allow for endless configurations of the space. The space can also be opened up for special events and presentations. These operable walls have high acoustic values including double glazed stacking doors that allow for different types of classes to occur adjacent each other without disruptions to either. In addition, there is an outdoor learning area that provides a non formalised teaching space adjacent two of the classrooms. This space uses hardwood extensively to provide a softer more relaxed teaching environment with built-in seating and sun protection.

The building was designed to sit comfortably with the existing 1970’s & 1980’s brick classrooms adjacent. The building form is in scale with these buildings at the entry and then rises dramatically toward the rear. The building’s materials were selected to reflect these existing materials and reimagine them in a contemporary form. They included clay bricks and expressed hardwood detailing highlighted with a bold yellow façade. The building features a dramatic roof form that addresses the school’s entry to the South and the buildings main elevation. The interior uses a neutral palette with bright colour accents in the joinery and finishes. The central area is crowned with a custom-made light fitting that zig-zags through the space and draws the eye to the rear of the internal space. The audio-visual area at the back of the space has feature orange tiered seating and timber detailing. The building generally has an abundance of natural light with all of the classrooms having external windows and the central area having North facing openable highlight windows.

The new building demonstrates Nagle College’s commitment to it’s current and future students to provide state of the art facilities and learning environments that can be adapted to future needs.

Lavalla Catholic College Arts & Technology

“Lavalla Catholic College required a signature building to house its Arts and Technology program”


Client Name:                        Lavalla Catholic College

Area:                                      815m²

Construction Budget:          $1.6m

Builder:                                  Becon Constructions


Slap Architects were engaged to design a project that fulfilled the College’s requirement for a new education building that showcased their practical, graphic and technology based arts programs. Part of the brief was to create a building  that was distinctly contemporary on the existing campus.

The building comprises a low rectangular brick form that houses the classrooms and that is sympathetic to the surrounding buildings architecture and materials.  A pyramid roof rises from its centre and forms the dynamic central gallery area below. Due to the requirement for the classrooms to use the wall space extensively, the external windows were placed above the surrounding benches and used to emphasise the horizontal.

The building contains 4 classrooms with a central corridor that is also the gallery space with a ceiling that rises towards an apex with skylights at both ends. The gallery displays the students work, making it available to both the public and school community as required. There are also associated service areas.

The central gallery area is a play of dark and light colours, positive and negative light formed by the skylights and the high ceiling. The classrooms use orange and green colours to distinguish them and to generate lively, creative spaces. The classrooms are open plan and regularly have the furniture arranged so that the space can be used for different education modes from traditional based teaching, to group based or individual arrangements.

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.

Toorloo Arm Primary School Stage 2

“In conjunction with the primary school we were able to customise a new building to the their needs, and develop a solution that enhanced the school grounds and produced an environment that is a delight for all who use it”

Project Name:

Toorloo Arm Primary School BER building



Construction Budget:

$2.0 Million


Brooker Builders

SLAP Architects have been involved with Toorloo Arm Primary School for  some years now with their Masterplanning as well as having designed the original permanent building on the site. The site itself is quite compact and required some special attention in regards to the staging of works to minimise disruption to the school and to allow for future expansion. The school originally had one permanent building and the remainder of the classrooms and staff buildings were portables which were extremely dated in their function, construction, comfort and IT. The project consisted of a template building provided under the Building the Education Revolution program as well as works with additional funding from the government. We worked closely with the school to customise the original design to the school’s needs, adding additional area, joinery and configuring classrooms. The school also added landscaped areas and seating to ensure that the building sat comfortably in its new location. The school wanted the building to be bright and colourful, so we worked with them to produce a scheme that used block colour to compliment the building externally and define the different building elements. Internally we used colour to define the different spaces and to visually break up the large central area. The school was completed in Early 2013 and opened in September by the Minster for Education Martin Dixon. The school is extremely pleased with the building and this is reflected in both the staff and student’s. They provided anecdotes at the opening on having an environment that is a joy to be in. In comparison to the previous portable classrooms the new building brings natural light, ventilation and a consistent temperature. The rooms also benefit from the latest IT infrastructure which is accessible from anywhere in the building. This all comes together to produce a school environment that all those who use it and have been involved in can be proud of.