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Year 9/10 Winner: 
Daniel Thomson & Oliver Fox
Radford College

Student Summary:

For the Schoolyard Visions project, our group has redesigned the Morrison Lawn using 3d modelling software and photoshop. In designing the schoolyard, we made sure to keep in mind practicality, functionality, how it makes people feel, ease of use in other locations, how many uses can be incorporated and what age it is targeted for.

Our group design is called Life Pods. They are an optional number of lawn hills that include a variety of activities and spaces to retreat to. We have designed the Morrison Lawn to have 2 life pods on it. The first life pod would include an internal vertical slide, a rock-climbing wall adjacent, stepped seating along the sides and a small room with lounges in the base of the structure. The second pod has a twisty slide along the outside with stairs adjacent but contains a much larger seating area inside the cool pod. The life pods were designed in a very customizable way that allows people to choose the number of pods and what activities and spaces are included in/on them, making it easier to adapt and suit other areas with different needs. The soft interior lounges are also designed to be relaxing giving people a space to sit with their friends during recess and lunch. These new pods are meant to provide multiple different ages (from junior to senior school, even staff) with the opportunity to either burn some energy and have some fun, climbing and sliding or just sit back, chat, relax and lie down.

The pods are designed with many safety features in mind with smooth slopes to prevent any injuries from sharp edges. The whole outside of the pod is also turf, not only blending in with the landscape, but also again softening any sharp edges there may be. After some research we discovered that the human brain processes sharp edges/geometry with the same part of the brain that processes fear, showing how people prefer curvy architecture as it is more soothing. We took this into account, with almost every surface having curvature as our space, more than anything, is a place to retreat from school life and have a break, secluded from any worries or stress. The use of colourful walls and slides is also used for the same effects.

One last major design element of these pods are the sustainable features built in. Grass naturally cools the space around it offsetting 50% of solar heat through cooling evaporation meaning with the pods covered in grass, the pods will stay nice and cool during the hot Canberra months. The grass also provides thermal mass which absorbs heat during hot parts of the day keeping its surroundings cool and then precedes to slowly release the heat back out when the temperature drops (at night), warming its surroundings. With our addition of covering the pods in grass, it enables other vegetation to be grown on the pods. In our design for the Morrison Lawn, we have planted 2 trees on top of the pods. This provides shade for the equipment and surroundings and along with the other green design aspects make Life Pods not only great for the community but sustainable and environmentally friendly.


Jury Comments

For Radford College students Daniel Thomson and Oliver Fox, schoolyards are places that bring people together.  Their  unique ‘lawn hills’ provide places to relax and de-stress during the school day.  The jury applauds the creativity of the entry, its balance of active and passive features and its focus as a space for enhancing community.