THE ROMALDO GIURGOLA AWARD FOR PUBLIC ARCHITECTURE
ST GREGORY’S HALL
COLLINS CADDAYE ARCHITECTS
CATEGORY: PUBLIC ARCHITECTURE
St Gregory’s Church was built in the 1850s when Queanbeyan was the business and social centre of a prosperous agricultural district in the southern highlands of New South Wales. It is the city’s oldest surviving church and the site of Queanbeyan’s first Roman Catholic school. This elegant and carefully crafted multi-purpose hall sits comfortably and confidently within the small grouping of the old Church and the primary classrooms at the north end of the school grounds. Viewed across the playing fields, the parapet of the new hall is below the ridge line of the old church, and the church and all the school buildings are below the line of the trees along the river. It is a pleasing urban composition in all respects, demonstrating that modesty and good manners are no impediments to a successful and clear architectural statement.
A generous formal schoolyard is bounded by the northern end of the new hall and the long side walls of the old church, built in an Academic Gothic Style with walls in random local stone. This part of the new building is faced in local freestone rubble in the same colours as the church walls, with simple rectangular windows and penetrations lined in slender black steel. A simple square bell tower at the front corner is a metaphorical link between the two buildings and supplies a memorable silhouette to the whole school.
A masterly use of materials is evident in all parts of the work. The street elevation of the main hall is formal with walls of black prefinished panels. On the south and east walls facing the school playgrounds, a rhythm of concrete frames and a restrained palette of timber and glass sets up a more varied pattern at a scale appropriate to its junior school users. Internally, the planning is wonderfully simple and all parts of the spaces are finished with imagination and fine detail. This project is a fine example of excellence in all aspects of the art of architecture.
Architect/Practice: Collins Caddaye Architects
Practice Team: Collins Caddaye Architects (Design Architect)
Consultant Team: Northrop (Structural/Civil/Hydraulic Consultant), John Raineri + Associates (Electrical/Mechanical Consultant), Scenic (Landscape Consultant)
Construction Team: Complete Constructions (Builder)
Photographer: Stefan Postles