Lauriston Girls’ School – Q&A with the Business Manager

Lauriston Girls’ School approached Harwyn to design two double storey music towers that would fit with the existing asthetic of the school and fit into a tight footprint. We sat down for a chat with the Business Manager from Lauriston Girls’ School to discuss the experience of working with Harwyn.

What were you looking for? Why was there a need for Harwyn prefabricated music tutor spaces?

Lauriston had recently completed a masterplan with a number of staged works to occur over a 4 year timeframe.

As part of the masterplan process we identified that we had a lack of music practice rooms especially for our Junior students. Together with our architects we identified a suitable location for four music practice rooms abutting a two story building used for junior classrooms. Given the design of the existing building we were looking at two groups of double story music practice rooms to align with the existing ground and first floor levels. The site identified was in a garden space in the centre of our campus surrounded by a number of other buildings. Traditional construction methods in this area would be quite disruptive and time consuming.

How did the search unfold? There are plenty of prefabricated options around as well as traditional building methods?

We had originally planned to build these practice rooms towards the end of the masterplan project. We had started thinking about a prefab options as the site was particularly difficult for an in-situ build. The music rooms would abut an existing building and it wasn’t possible to complete traditional construction within a school holiday break.

I had been researching prefabricated building options and discovered Harwyn’s website as part of my online research. I was interested in the pods construction, how they were used by Schools and the timeframe for delivery and installation of the pods.

From the initial contact and discussion with Harwyn we went to look at another School and talked with their staff regarding the use of their pods and the installation process.

Was time a factor in choosing Harwyn over traditional building methods?

We had originally planned to have the music rooms constructed towards the end of the masterplan project. The location of the music practice rooms was also an issue given they would be located very close to existing buildings and it would be difficult to build in the centre of the campus. Ideally we wanted a solution that allowed us to have four new practice rooms with minimal disruption to students’ learning.

The pod solution allowed us to fast track the project and have the pods installed prior to our major works program commencing. The added bonus was being able to have them installed during a school holiday break and to have students and teachers using them shortly after term commenced.

What were the design features that appealed to you?

The modern exterior and clean design was appealing. We also liked that we could select an appropriate colour scheme to match the Lauriston branding and colours. There was also some flexibility with the interior fitout.

How do the pods compare to your existing classrooms?

The pods are ideal for music practice rooms. The instrumental music teachers really enjoy using them. The pods are air-conditioned and have been well utilised since they were installed.

Do they appear as a temporary fix?

The pods are used as a more permanent solution to our shortage of music practice spaces. Given the music rooms were planned as part of an overall masterplan we expect they will be in this location for quite some time.

Do they appear as a temporary fix?

Schools continually change and grow requiring for facilities to be upgraded and renewed.
The pods are relocatable which is ideal as we can move the pods to another location and continue to use these for our music program or put to an alternate use without major disruption to students’ learning.

Are the pods used regularly?

The pods are used regularly by our music staff and our learning support staff. The space is ideal for a teacher and individual or small groups of students.

Is it possible that the pods would still be in the same location 15 years from now?

They have been designed to complement existing buildings. It is very possible they will be in the same location 15 years from now. The use may change but we have the flexibility of changing the use or location if needed.

How did you find the process of dealing with Harwyn?

The Harwyn staff were very helpful in assisting us to design a solution to meet our requirements for a two story pod. Hawrwyn had not designed and contracted a two story solution so we worked together to identify what was required.

The colours we initially chose were not available but we were able to work with Harwyn to find an alternate solution that gave us a great outcome as the new colour scheme better suited the environment.

How have the staff, students and parents reacted?

The staff and students were quite surprised when they returned from their school holiday break and the pods had arrived. They were keen to start using the pods. Naturally, when first installed, the community were curious about the new spaces but now they have blended in with the rest of the school.

The staff and students love using the pods and the music department are always booking these spaces.

The location is ideal as it allows the rest of the school to see the musicians at work and it brings music to the forefront of the students’ minds. It is lovely that music is not tucked away.