GISS wins prestigious Good Design Award

GISS has been awarded Australia’s highest honour for design and innovation, for its pioneering shipping container classroom build. At last night’s 60th Annual Good Design Awards ceremony the school’s Art Village project was recognised for its innovation and outstanding design in the Architectural Design category.

GISS was commended by The Good Design Awards Jury for its ‘very well executed design project: “Thoughtful adaption of shipping containers for the education sector. Arts Village is a very well executed design project in a typology that is well suited to a modular design and build approach. The project is nicely engaged with the landscape and the overall colour pallet and branding is outstanding.”

Held by Good Design Australia, the Good Design Awards celebrate excellence in architectural design, digital and communication design and other emerging areas of design. The 2018 Australian Good Design Awards attracted a record number of 536 entries. GISS was presented with the Good Design Award trophy during a special ceremony at the Sydney Opera House, and were congratulated by Jan Utzon, son of Jorn Utzon who designed the iconic building.

GISS’s Arts Village is a reflection of GISS’s progressive and forward thinking school community and was brought to life by Architect and parent of the school, Andrew Nolan and Chairman of the Board, Bernd Winter.

The idea to transform containers into classrooms ‘Klassenzimmer’, was born when the duo were looking for a practical and flexible solution to cater to the school’s expansion. Traditional demountables were not an option for GISS, as they strived to be eco-conscious and ensure the structures complemented the surrounding bushland. Over a course of 18 months, 12 shipping containers transformed into creative learning spaces.

“We are very honoured to receive the prestigious Good Design Award. At our school we encourage creativity and forward thinking, so to see this project being awarded with the highest honour for design innovation in Australia, is very rewarding and motivating for everyone involved. The GISS Arts Village has been now been in use for over three months and our students have embraced their new multi-functional learning spaces”, explains Chairman of the GISS Board, Bernd Winter.

The project’s design originality ultimately led to GISS winning the Good Design Award, one of the oldest and most prestigious international design awards in the world.

The design, using 12 shipping containers as modules, creates four multifunctional spaces arranged to follow the

natural topography and opens the spaces to views and avoid the visual rigidity of a single row institutional plan.

Each space is formed with two containers at floor level and another stacked over the middle, forming a double

height space with glazing to the south, which encourages natural ventilation and maximizes glare free daylighting. The upper containers also provide compartments for plant rooms and air chambers to promote passive heating and cooling.

“The stacked and staggered arrangement of the containers, with simple uncluttered wall planes, is intended to be abstract, modern and evocative of the elemental nature of children’s building blocks. The vibrant palette blends as a lorikeet in the landscape and the setting will be further enhanced by the growth of new native shrubs and trees. The form and colour of the ‘blocks’ are intended to add both vitality and levity to the campus - just one of the inspiring creative touches by our superb Northern Beaches Architect Andrew Nolan, who donated all his time and creativity to the school,” explains Winter who also wanted to thank Australian building manufacture James Hardie as a sponsor of the connecting walkways.

Founded in 1989, the German International School Sydney (GISS), offers a complete multi-lingual school education from Preschool to Year 12. Its 360 students are part of a truly multicultural community, with approximately 50% coming from a wide range of international countries plus local Australian families who have an interest in languages and science.

Recently re-awarded with the title of ‘Excellent German School Abroad’, GISS offers bilingual studies and focuses on effective language immersion, leading to bilingual competency in both English and German, meaning it is not necessary to be familiar with the German language when starting at the school.

In Years 11 and 12 GISS offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) which is recognised worldwide as the best university preparation programme currently available to students completing post-secondary education. In recent years GISS IB students continuously achieved IB scores above world average.

About Good Design Australia and the Good Design Awards

Good Design Australia is an international design promotion organisation responsible for managing Australia¹s annual Good Design Awards and other signature design events. With a proud history that dates back to 1958, Good Design Australia remains committed to promoting the importance of design to business, industry, government and the general public and the critical role it plays in creating a better, safer and more prosperous world.