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PEGS Middle Boys School (2013)


As designers, we favour distinct identities for the three principal sites/communities of the PEGS Keilor campus.


For us each should be clearly different, like three small and fiercely independent towns strung together by proximity, the pedestrian path and the overarching identity of PEGS. The worst thing we felt we could do was to echo the geometry of the new campus, as this would simply etiolate difference and fail to acknowledge the promise of 'better architecture'.


Upon revisiting the current middle boys buildings we were struck by the similarity between it and the Roman Forum. We felt this was a partially unfulfilled intent of the original design and that, as such, this was a thread that we could unravel and explore. The opportunity is for the new middle boys precinct to be completely distinct from both the old and new McNab Houses and, in doing so, could affirm some principles that lay between these bookends of school life. Between the early flights of imagination and the complexity of the later years, lie
the middle years. Here integrity and habit are vital and simple civic values are instilled: where things are bit more black and white, a bit more grounded; where you give, and get, respect.


And so the design emerged: simple, distinct, and rational. Importantly though it is not without joy. It is a place where rational necessity is carefully construed and optimized to amplify an echo of the Roman Forum: a place of civility, debate, exchange, respect.