Container classrooms - first of its kind in Sydney

Container classrooms - first of its kind in Sydney

Our students commenced Term 1 in very unique and innovative container classrooms, which were opened by the NSW Education Minister, the Hon. Robert Stokes, MP, and German Consul General, Lothar Freischlader on Wednesday 31st January - the first day of school.


Our container classroom project is not only innovative and environmentally friendly, but the build, which took 18 months from conception to completion, is also believed to be the first of its kind in Sydney.


“I have always been a firm believer in environmental determinism: the better one’s learning environment, the greater their educational outcomes. These new work spaces at The German International School Sydney embody this principal – and I am proud to have opened them today,” Mr Stokes said.


Minister Stokes and Consul General Freischlader celebrated this milestone along with the Chairman of the Board, Bernd Winter, and school principal, Erhard Seifert, with a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of students and parents.


The idea to repurpose the containers into classrooms ‘Klassenzimmer’, was the brainchild of architect and parent at the school, Andrew Nolan in collaboration with Chairman, Bernd Winter, when they were looking for alternatives to traditional institutional ‘demountables’.


“At our school we encourage our students to be progressive and forward thinkers, therefore this pioneering solution to transform containers into creative spaces was embraced by our school community. Offering flexibility and catering to all school years, the container classroom design was a practical answer for our School’s expanding requirements,” explains Winter.


The innovative, environmentally friendly expansion project consists of two free-standing buildings, which were created from 12 new modified shipping containers. This new flexible system provides four multi-functional learning spaces which can easily be adapted to suit the changing needs of the students and school - from traditional classroom layouts to contemporary learning and teaching styles.


The school’s eco focus has been embedded in the project, four spaces uniquely designed with two containers at floor level and another stacked over the middle, forming a double height void with glazing to the south. The void encourages natural ventilation, maximizes glare free daylighting and prevents the spatial compression of an otherwise all flat ceiling plane. The upper containers also provide compartments for air conditioning equipment and heat chambers to promote passive heating and cooling. The lower containers form large focus alcoves for presentation, engagement, reflection and display.


“Our focus was also to ensure the new build was sympathetic to our surrounding bush land and complemented the natural topography, and this has been achieved by arranging the containers in a staggered formation across the site. This enables separation of entry points, opens the spaces to the views and avoids the visual rigidity of a single row institutional plan,” explains Chairman of the Board, Bernd Winter.   


The overall design boasts, six x 20 foot and six x 40 foot shipping containers, four modules with decks in between each to act as a conduit to the open space beyond.


“A stacked and staggered arrangement of containers, with simple uncluttered wall planes, is intended to be abstract and modern. It is also evocative of the elemental nature of children’s building blocks. A vibrant colour palette blends as a lorikeet in the Australian landscape with the setting to 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,” continued Winter. 

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