St Bede’s Catholic College is the first secondary school in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle to open since 1984. This first stage boasts a beautiful, flexible design aesthetic, where learning spaces can be adapted and changed to meet the needs of the time. This flexibility is important in a new school and particularly one in an area forecast to experience rapid growth. The approach to education that is being developed within this project reflects the ‘future-focused learning’ movement. Transitional areas are dedicated as classrooms with flexible furniture and adaptable areas available for use, depending on both the subject being delivered and the group of students involved. Prior to the commencement of construction the team was required to build a temporary school on site to facilitate the new school term, making the project a live environment.
The building will initially accommodate the main entry, administration, staff area, amenities and general learning areas.
The building is split over the site and is three stories at its central axis. By stepping up the site, the building takes advantage of views to the west whilst limiting the impact against the surrounding residential area. The building contains the main services infrastructure, staff and student amenities and lifts to facilitate disabled access to all floors of the building and the corresponding external courtyard areas.
The robust nature of these buildings is reflected in the materiality and detailing as well as extensive operable glazed areas to facilitate a clear connection between the inside space and external areas.
In overall design, the internal circulation spine, known as the ‘Peregrine Trail’, is a more organic form, which wraps along the existing contours of the site. Complex design features including exposed tapered concrete columns and a unique Aramax roofing solution including Aramax soffits were managed with close consultation between architect and builder to ensure the design intent was met.
Catholic Schools Office