Tour 5

Theme:    Theory & Practice. A Constant Dialogue and Process of Innovation

Sites:        Preshil, The Margaret Lyttle Memorial School; Enterprise Centre, Camberwell High School

Designers:  Kevin Borland,  Hayball

Preshil, The Margaret Lyttle Memorial School is considered to be Australia’s longest operating ‘progressive’ school. More than 80 year old, it has enjoyed a long history of educational and architectural innovation. The primary school campus, Arlington, includes seven buildings designed by renowned Melbourne architect Kevin Borland. This radical and playful series of buildings won the RAIA bronze medal in 1972 and give expression to Borland’s personal motto that ‘architecture is not for the faint hearted. Borland famously designed the buildings in collaboration with the students, whom he saw as his clients. The result is a series of extraordinary spaces that challenge and charm. Unexpected twists, such as secret trapdoors, mezzanines and cubby spaces encourage children to explore and develop their physical, spatial and creative skills. While many schools departed from the open-plan spaces of the 1970’s, Preshil has celebrated them since they were built, demonstrating an enduring alignment between educational philosophy and space, and making little of the threshold between indoor and outdoor spaces to encourage teachers and students to realise the potential of this wonderful rambling campus.

At Camberwell High School students are encouraged to take an active role in their own learning. Innovative approaches to learning encourage every student to achieve their potential and pursue their passions and interests as learners. Students are encouraged to think through problems and develop creative solutions to real world challenges. This learning process enables students to develop deep understanding, helping develop a sense of responsibility, both academically and personally within the community. In 2013 the Enterprise Centre was opened. Replacing a set of relocatable classrooms, the project brought the school’s learning landscape principles to life, providing a facility designed to support the growth of independent and interdependent learners.  The ‘E’ Centre is home base for the Year 9 community of learners and is a dynamic space, designed to provoke inquiry and is the result of a highly collaborative process that brought together the strengths of students, educators, designers and planners. Collaboration between the school, the education consultant and the design team was critical for the creation of an environment which in the words of a Year 9 student “is a new way of thinking about learning”.


This page last updated: Wednesday 10 February 2016