ASPECT Studios is part of a team planning the renewal of All Hallows’ Catholic girls School in Brisbane. lahznimmo architects and Deicke Richards are leading the architectural master planning with ASPECT Studios leading the landscape architecture master plan. Our collaborators Deb Robbins (Brisbane) and Kate Luckraft (Sydney) are currently researching ways of optimising the heritage school’s highly urbanised site.
All Hallows’ is a school of great heritage. Established in 1861 on the fringe of Fortitude Valley and the CBD, it is the oldest girl’s secondary school (years 5-12) in Queensland. The master plan aims to preserve this rich history and build on the school’s traditions, while integrating future teaching trends. Queensland is to adopt the NSW Senior Exam system, which is an important aspect of the master planning and a key reason why Sydney practices are involved.
The master plan will take a strategic approach to open space, seeking to enhance the campus environment as well as educational outcomes. A recent in-house seminar brought together the client and teaching staff with other education experts, along with heritage consultants and urban planners. Ambitions workshopped for the master plans referenced the growing body of case studies showing links between access to nature, and active and passive green spaces on educational outcomes and wellbeing of students and staff. They also looked at how public domain design principles can be used in a schooling environment to address issues such as playground bullying and isolation.
“We are looking at the campus as a generator of well-being, through the use of ‘urban biophilia’ for instance,” says ASPECT’s Kate Luckraft. “Some of the existing courtyards are great examples of green respite spaces, but we’re also looking to add some curriculum-based outdoor spaces, which the school doesn’t currently have and infiltrate some more plant diversity.”
Another focus of the master plans will be to identify existing under-utilised space. As the school has built up over time, its mix of heritage and new facilities has resulted in a concentration of ‘buildings, streets and courtyards’ around the site perimeter, with a central terraced area that gives the campus much-needed breathing space and its social heart.
While only limited open space remains left to work with, ASPECT’s Deb Robbins is optimistic. “With the school again looking at the campus through the microscope of a master plan, we think there are some really exciting ideas to introduce and benefits to be designed in.”