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St Mary MacKillop College Canberra


July 2019



Delivery Method

Lump Sum


CCJ Architects

The new Academic Resources Centre and Canteen is the second stage of work at the St Mary Mackillop College Isabella Plains campus. This new facility required the modernisation of an existing building to accommodate new administrative spaces, student collaborative work areas and a modern 120 seat lecture theatre.

The new extension makes the necessary architectural connections to newer buildings on the campus. The resultant spaces encourage group or individual activity required for a modern pedagogy. The incorporation of a café style canteen guarantees these spaces are a central hub of student activity on the campus.

The existing campus was designed around a village concept with individual buildings and resultant interstitial spaces for gathering & circulation. The treatment of the new work seeks to further develop the existing campus feel with more transparency between spaces, promoting opportunities for incidental meetings.

The existing building was completely remodelled internally to create spaces for a modern pedagogy with minimal external modifications so as to retain some of its architectural connection to the existing campus.

The building provides a place for students to gather for group study, independent learning and social gatherings. It provides visible activity on the campus which promotes a community / village atmosphere for senior students and staff.

The existing building’s high roof cavity provided the opportunity to insert a medium size lecture theatre, which utilises the undercroft areas for study nooks. The spaces either side of the lecture theatre are designed to be used for the variety of spaces associated with large gatherings associated with the various uses of a Theatre.

Manteena delivered a high quality of finish—incorporating new and recycled materials such as bricks and timber, in order to reduce the carbon foot print.

The existing Science building shell was retained and recycled into a modern, medium size lecture theatre, which utilises the undercroft areas for student study nooks. The use of recycled hardwood timber was used throughout the build on the wide window sills, columns and benches in the Café. The café style, wooden bench, seating was precisely installed.

The lecture theatre walls and corridor ceilings were lined with high quality perforated ply that was FSC certified (Forest Stewardship Council). The high quality finish was achieved through the skill and craftsmanship of the subcontractor, who individually manufactured each panel off site to meet the design specification. On-site the panels were carefully installed, paying close attention to its positioning and alignment to fit seamlessly
into the space.

Other complexities on the project included working within the school campus with approximately 800 students moving around the space. Careful planning and staging of works were required to ensure the safety of students, staff and visitors.

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