St Gregory’s Hall
The 2012 Canberra Medallion winner…
Location: Queanbeyan, NSW
Awards: Canberra Medallion 2012, Australian Institute of Architects, ACT Chapter Awards Romaldo Guirgola Public Architecture, Australian Institute of Architects, ACT Chapter Awards 2012
The design for St Gregory’s school hall was approached as a unique opportunity to integrate elements from the existing heritage church into a new and lasting structure, thus reiterating the contribution that the church provides to the site and surrounds.
The multi-purpose hall sits comfortably and confidently within the small grouping of the old Church and the primary classrooms at the north end of the school grounds. Viewed across the playing fields, the parapet of the new hall aligns with the old church facade which aligns to the existing school buildings and backing tree line. Simplified into two main forms, the hall contains a large sports volume and smaller non-sports space. The smaller solid stone clad volume works as an intermediate space between the heritage church and the sharp black aluminium cladding of the sport facilities.
A masterful use of green building materials evidences combined sustainable and aesthetic awareness. The northern end of the new building is faced in local freestone rubble in the same colours as the church walls, with simple rectangular windows and penetrations lined in slender black steel. The street elevation of the main hall is formal with walls of black prefinished panels. On the south and east walls facing the school playgrounds, a rhythm of concrete frames and a restrained palette of timber and glass sets up a more varied pattern at a scale appropriate to its junior school users.
The design of the building employs many strategies to achieve a sustainable built outcome. We have incorporated a breathing external skin that changes in configuration depending on the orientation, season and desired comfort level for the user. To the South we have placed high and low-level operable louvres for cross ventilation while to the North and East the entire façade is a composition of operable double-glazed and timber-clad operable walls to allow an extension of the space to the playground. This helped to achieve the brief requirement for the building to accommodate students from both campuses at a single sitting.