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Oak Valley Anangu School

Construction – LCS Landscapes
Design – LCS Landscapes

Oak Valley School is situated in the Maralinga Tjarutja lands. It is a small community west of Maralinga and is one of Australia’s most isolated communities.

Our design, developed through close consultation with the local Community, delivered a robust functional landscape providing meaningful play opportunities for children with a strong connection to their culture and learning.

Elements that reinforced this cultural connection were ‘desert oak’ animal totems and the paved Sturt’s Desert Pea, all specific to the Oak Valley Region and intrinsic to storytelling and culture. These elements and concepts are interwoven through the design helping to tell the story of the Community through outdoor play, providing specific learning opportunities for children. Some features were directly requested by the Community, school representatives and children, simply because they wanted materials that school children in the city had.

The other side to the design was construction of the project. These types of projects present extremely difficult logistics, from transporting materials and equipment to the site to accommodation of employees. Local materials were sourced with the help of the Community elders. For instance the seating rocks that were selected had million-year-old fossils in them and are now being used as a learning tool for teachers.

For this landscape to be a success it needed to deliver across a wide range of constraints.

The Community feel this project has provided a learning landscape that will provide years of use. To quote the principal Bob Sim, ‘Nothing like this has ever been done in the history of this Community and everyone is so excited with the result.’