Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School

Institutional / 3rd Quarter 2019

Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School

By refurbishing an existing 1970s three-storey concrete building and adding a mass timber structure, Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School is now enclosed in a high-performance envelope with light, airy interiors. The process transformed the run-down former training centre—a typical institutional example of brutalist concrete monolith of its time—into the first educational facility with engineered timber in Australia for 420 elementary students. The design is a realisation of the school’s vision of creating “beautiful, functional and agile spaces conducive to independent learning that engages and enthuses,” shared Cathy Young, the school’s principal. Importantly, it has also created an educational space that elevates well-being.


In stage two, a new hall, library with a suspended reading net, arts space, balconies and rooftop playgrounds were added to the school. A vast four-storey atrium acts as the main entry via a central circulation spine, connecting all educational areas on the upper levels of the building with the administration area and playground located on the ground floor. Classes are situated on either side of this large timber stairway, which also forms an extension to the learning spaces, further encouraging activity and interaction amongst the school community along this central circulation route. By removing most of the internal walls from the existing structure, classes can also gather on either side of an open timber corridor that runs the length of the campus.

Project Data

Project Name Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School

Location North Strathfield, New South Wales, Australia

Completion Date 2019

Gross Floor Area 5,200 square metres

Clients/Owners Sydney Catholic Schools; Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School

Architecture Firm BVN

Principal Architects Julian Ashton; Knut Menden

Main Contractor Stephen Edwards Construction

Mechanical & Electrical Engineer TTW

Civil & Structural Engineer TTW

Fire Engineer ARUP

Mechanical/Electrical/Audio Visuals Engineer JHA Consulting Engineers

BCA Consultant BCA Logic

Planner Robinson Urban Planning

Quantity Surveyor Wilde & Woollard

DDA Consultant Accessible Building Solutions

Images/Photos BVN; Brett Boardman

To read the complete article, get your hardcopy at our online shop/newsstands/major bookstores; subscribe to FuturArc or download the FuturArc App to read the issues.