Officer Specialist School

Pioneering new levels of inclusive school design

Location: Bunurong Country, 3 Parker St, Officer VIC
Status: Complete

Victorian School Design Awards 2016 - Best Use of Inclusive Design

Officer Specialist School is the combination of a Special and Special Developmental School that caters for student’s ages 5 to 18 with a wide range of special needs, from very mild to quite severe, requiring an adaptable and agile facility that is cognisant of these varying and sometimes competing needs.

The school is defined by four distinct age-based learning communities that are autonomous in catering for all student needs. Specialist facilities including consultation rooms, multi-sensory rooms, amenities, kitchens, arts and performance spaces are embedded in each learning community to ensure that students, teachers and staff have the facilities and resources they need at their fingertips.

Drawing inspiration from Officer’s farming past, the new school features simple building forms that reflect the gable style architecture of early settlers’ cottages. A natural earthy palette articulates the simplicity of the built form and celebrates the region’s timber and brick industry history through a dynamic palette of materials including natural timber cladding and heavily patterned masonry.

Whether through multisensory walls, spinning padded poles, textured seating nooks or semi-enclosed outdoor learning spaces, every aspect of the design is focused on engaging and simulating and/or calming the students so they can achieve their optimal engagement and activity level for learning.

Officer Specialist School is the pride of a rapidly growing community. It is perfectly designed for purpose, able to service the diverse and changing needs of the community whilst presenting a beautiful façade to all.
Sue Campbell
Extensive community engagement and the community passion for the project shaped the design outcome, with every design decision reflecting the specific needs and requirements of students, the strongly invested interests of the community, and the pedagogical vision for the school.
Simon Le Nepveu
Partner, Architect