All Saints Gym

Project status: Completed in 2008
Location: Belmore, NSW

Education and environment determine personality and character – William Godwin

Photography: Brett Boardman

AIA NSW Architecture Award, Commendation 2012

The completion of the initial All Saints Primary School building represents the first stage in the establishment of the new All Saints Primary School campus and with it, the Greek Orthodox Church achieved the first part of a long-term goal to commence the establishment of a cultural precinct around the existing All Saints Church.

The primary school building is a simple narrow extruded form approximately 80 metres in length. Teaching spaces are located over four levels, accessed from continuous external walkway and breakout spaces to the west.

The stepping section, orientation and use of privacy screens assisted in reducing the impact of the development on neighbouring properties in terms of overshadowing and visual privacy, whilst maintaining a scale and presentation to the street which was considered appropriate for such a public building. The modulating colours of the privacy screens were selected to pay deference to the terracotta roofscapes adjacent to the east; when viewed from the train line, the effect of this is to continue this proximal abstract terracotta pattern onto the eastern elevation of the building.

The design team were challenged to provide specific levels of luminance such that the technical equipment could function whilst concurrently maintaining pleasant teaching environments. Reflected daylight is bounced into the rooms by angled coloured blade walls on the eastern façade; this moderates high internal daylight and sunlight levels whilst providing the required daytime luminance, the colour variation to the blades providing an individual character to each classroom whilst acting to control solar gain.

The western façade and external teaching spaces are protected from solar gain by vertical timber battens and steel mesh screens across the façade. The proportion and orientation of the building provides all spaces with a dual aspect promoting cross ventilation, which in conjunction with appropriately located exposed high thermal mass surfaces, solar control devices and ceiling fans successfully provides a high degree of thermal comfort for the building occupants. The expansive roof which runs the length of the site, is used to collect and recycle rain water.

The client and the Architect agreed from an early stage, that a school should be a stable structure in repose. To this end, the materials were selected and the construction was composed to achieve a robustness tempered by a material and chromatic warmth and with a poetic playfulness that was considered appropriate for such an institution. Stretching a penny with all of the project team, a school was made and we hope all who attend will be inspired by and recall fondly the experience over the next hundred years”.