Occupying a leafy riverside suburb in Yeronga stands a heritage-protected brick church, the iconic structure that brings character and identity to the grounds of Saint Sebastian’s Primary School.

As a bustling education hub, there was an inherent need for Saint Sebastian’s to expand to include more classrooms, a library, gardens, flexible learning centres, bathrooms and a generous provision for storage.

Architectus answered the call, creating a master plan that not only took advantage of the site location and configuration, views and climate but also worked to ensure the detailing, aesthetic and form of the new buildings respected the scale, dignity and solidity of the original brick church’s facade.

Image: supplied. Aerial view of site

The northerly orientation of the new wings, single depth cross ventilated spaces and habitable interstices are accomplished by incorporating a perforated brickwork brise soleil to create a myriad of thermally comfortable spaces.

Trees are dotted generously across the campus, providing much-needed shade to buildings and people, significantly reducing heat gain to the whole site, ensuring outdoor and recreational areas are kept cool for students.

Image: supplied

Lush gardens are physically and conceptually integrated, a collaborative effort by both the architects and the landscape architects as a ‘biophilic continuum’.

Local indigenous vegetation – appropriate for all climates and conditions - have been carefully considered and arranged so that it minimises chemical and water usage.  

The site and individual buildings on campus are designed around the principles of environmental and social sustainability. Demonstrating passive climatic design, the newly erected buildings are designed for full natural cross ventilation, offering shaded openings on the north and extensive windows on the south, with high ceilings and ridge vents included in the upper levels.

Image: supplied

Architectus says that a key design challenge for the Saint Sebastian’s project was a constrained budget spread over several years, through several contractors.

With initial funding through the Building and Education Revolution program insufficient to completely answer the client’s brief, the final development was accomplished over several funding periods, with each stage separately tendered with contracts for each stage let to different contractors.

Designed with both school and community in mind, the finished results sees a campus completely transformed into an accessible, robust facility, providing flexible and enduring spaces for all to enjoy.