La Guerre Primary School replaces the La Guerre Combined School, which was damaged by tropical storm Thomas in 2009. The school is presently based in a facility which does not meet the education standards set by the Minister of Education and is inadequate for housing the students. The new La Guerre Primary School building is based on the original site and contains teaching spaces for more than 160 students aged between 5 and 12.
Set in the rural community of Plateau, Babonneau in close proximity to a major road, the site slopes from the access road north of the site to its south and is dominated by green space surroundings. The school’s design exploits this slope and natural setting, with terracing to create multiple levels of flat spaces landscape play areas on either sides of the 3-level school block.
A simple L-shaped on plan, the teaching spaces are linear on multiple levels connected by the elevated balconies connecting stairwells on either ends and the disability access on west end. The basement level contains the cafeteria, open eating and social space, storage and student toilets. The short end of the L-shape, east side, contains the administrators and teachers’ rooms, entrance space, music room, library and IT lab over two levels.
Setting down the scale of the school over three terraced levels, two active physical recreation and play areas, separated by the footprint of the building, have been created – a top terrace active physical play area, in close proximity to the main entrance and the administration arm of the school building, and the lower terrace dedicated to imaginative play. The former contains a levelled grassed area with planters, trees, concrete seats and hardwood benches. The lower play area, which is less exposed, creates an area of quiet and calm natural sanctuary dedicated to imaginative play, and designed as a woodland garden with a treehouse structure, and seating stumps.
Once entering the school compound, the administration arm, with the security room at the front, is set to the immediate left down the disable access ramp or the short flight of stairs. The visitor is greeted by a vibrant mural painting on the face of the building. Classroom windows are glazed, security louvres with the aim of maximising the flow of natural ventilation and natural light which significantly boost learning. The reinforced concrete frame encloses walls with more than 40% windows and internal walls are non load-bearing, so can be moved in future to suit changing requirements.