By Macella Salzmann   4 Sep 2021

Model Learning: Model Schools, DfMA and Modular Design

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The NBRSARCHITECTURE Education Studio has a deep understanding of contemporary educational practices. Since 2011 our team has published thought leadership papers describing a pathway for design to support future focused learning environments.

Complementing these insights is our experience of delivering Model Schools, utilising Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) techniques such as volumetric modular construction. Off-site bulk manufacturing and a repeatable planning grid is a particularly beneficial approach to the design and construction of schools. Resulting in reduced waste, emissions and construction costs.

Model Schools: Systematically Designed to Support Learning

Our team has experience of delivering Model Schools, systematically designed to support learning outcomes. Marsden Park Public School is an example of a Model School. It draws reference from the design of North Kellyville Public School with replication of the education planning grid, room types and ancillary assets.

The Model School design was developed and improved to incorporate the School’s character. Alterations were made to improve the building’s facade and include contextual design elements. ​This approach resulted in a more sustainable and efficient project delivery for SINSW and ADCO Constructions. This Model School concept is now being developed and improved on for future projects.

DfMA: Revolutionising Construction

The benefits of DfMA are now well documented as delivering significant safety and sustainability outcomes. Government, industry and communities can also benefit from increased productivity and quality.

NBRS is at the forefront of DfMA. We understand the process and approach to design systemisation, which uses BIM technology and focuses on off-site manufacture and efficient onsite assembly. The construction methodology utilises a standardised range of building components to deliver high performance and agile learning spaces.

By harnessing DfMA on the design of Fairfield Primary School and Elwood College, we were able to create award winning designs that leverage speed, efficiency and safety.

Modular Design: Fast, Adaptable and Sustainable

Modular design and construction is an increasingly popular approach to fast track projects. The process involves a building’s components being prefabricated in an off-site controlled setting and then shipped to the project site for assembly.

NBRS has utilised prefabricated methodologies for nearly 10 years. Our design concepts have been realised by both the Australian state and territory governments, as well as the New Zealand Ministry of Education.

Macella Salzmann

Principal, Sector Lead - Education

“Architecture is a form of communication unlike any other.”