Gray Puksand was engaged by Melbourne City Mission (MCM) to deliver the Typical Campus Accommodation Return Brief for Hester Hornbrook Academy (HHA). This brief became a crucial part in informing the design of all future HHA Campuses, which generated a series of aspirational campuses – Sunshine, Kings Way South Melbourne, and their 5th latest campus in East Werribee.

The Hester Hornbrook Academy is an independent secondary school that provides an alternative flexible education model that provides for Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning and Vocational Education and Training in Schools.

The education model strategically supports the specific and unique pedagogy of the Academy, outlining the aspirational Specialist Teaching spaces that will respond to the geographical region; whilst catering to 15 to 25-year-olds forming an inclusive cohort of young parents, individuals with disadvantaged backgrounds, experiencing homelessness or who have been disengaged from mainstream education.

The school offers much greater support to students than a typical secondary school by providing day-to-day assistance with items such as laundry facilities and food donations.

The recently completed 2021 new Sunshine Campus is a great example of the vision shared between Gray Puksand, MCM and HHA team. The overall scheme is deliberately domestic in scale to provide a sense of safety and home. The campus caters 220 students and works internally as 3 learning hubs. The internal layout enables the school to control access around the building and lock down the campus when an event occurs. In addition to teaching, and support spaces, the school also provides a young parents room, wellness room, social kitchen, sensory spaces, counselling rooms, allied health room, intervention room and a prayer room. All areas are also visually connected so students can see others using the space, which fosters a feeling of security.

It is crucial that the design theme emphasises on community, identity and belonging, as this is not only essential for the student’s individual academic development but for their own personal growth.

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