Blessed Carlo College

Moama, Australia
Streams of Knowledge

The Blessed Carlo College masterplan design for a regional school embraces water retention and reuse as key elements to articulate spaces whilst incorporating Connecting with Country design principles.

Located near the Murray River this Catholic K-12 school seeks to provide spaces of fun and learning, respecting the country upon which it is located and its own faith.

Client: Catholic Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes
Location: Moama, New South Wales, Australia
Status: Design Development
Size: 4.53 ha
Partners/Consultants: Clarke Hopkins Clarke, Salvestro Planning, Traffic Works, JN, Salt, OzArk
Typology: Educational

How do we make educational spaces for children of all ages and abilities to encourage activity, engagement and curiosity?

A ‘Streams of Knowledge’ concept integrates the buildings into the landscape by capturing stormwater into rain gardens that function as green learning ‘ponds’. These ponds are connected to a central creek system that generates the structuring axis of the school. Aboriginal aquaculture systems – weirs and stone fish traps – guided the water sensitive design approach.

Referencing the nearby river a sequence of landscape ecosystems are linked to perform a range of amenity functions. Nature playgrounds, productive fruit trees and bush tucker gardens are woven together with rehabilitated native woodland and meadow species to create a rich cultural, ecological and productive landscape. A grove of olive trees shade a gathering space for outdoor events. The central lawn/amphitheatre captures water from the bioswales and filters it before it enters the storage reservoir below.

Overlaid onto the blue/green network are a sequence of experiential spatial realms. Natural play places with loose pebbles, pods and sticks encourage ‘free play’, whilst climbing nets encourage ‘active play’ and bridges create stages for imaginative play.

The design interweaves Indigenous design principles and planting with gathering spaces and biblical plants that celebrate the Catholic tradition