Newman Catholic College | TPG Architects

Newman Catholic College | TPG Architects | Photographer: Andrew Watson

2023 National Architecture Awards Program

Newman Catholic College | TPG Architects

Traditional Land Owners
Yriganydji Djabugay



Far North Queensland

COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture
Educational Architecture
Bryant Building Contractors
Andrew Watson
Project summary

The first Catholic school in Australia co-located on a University campus, founding principal Lauretta Graham said “the architecture permeates every facet. On entering it encourages students and staff to think. Strong mathematical undertones add to its intrigue making the design perfect for a ‘John Newman school’ Newman, 1801-1889, studied at Oxford. An academic, Anglican Vicar, converting to Catholicism, patron to construction of new churches, schools, teaching “to reach out towards truth and grasp it.” Becoming a saint in October 2019.

> “that same month we completed our first sketch, a four storey, transparent building, allowing views through to mountains, rainforest, and creek, reinforcing strong connection to landscape. Circulation lifted to the first level concourse, reducing travel to two flights up or one flight down. Stairs, legible, fun, created as sticky spaces for gathering, sitting or learning. Rising through the central vertical commons like an Escher drawing’’ – Roger Mainwood – TPG Architects Director.

Queensland Architecture Awards Accolades
Commendation for Educational Architecture
Queensland Jury Citation

Located on the Cairns campus of James Cook University, Newman Catholic College is the first stage of a new school that sits between highway, bushland, and university sporting fields. The vertical school model, while unexpected in the region, is perfectly suited to its context.

The necessarily large building projects a solid presence towards passing traffic but is masterfully planned to reveal an unexpected permeability and sense of theatre in the unfolding spaces beyond.

Designed for the tropical climate, its deep shade and large component of natural ventilation, along with generously framed views of the adjacent mountains, bring a sense of lightness and connection to the landscape. 

Newman Catholic College is distinctive in so many ways. Much of its magical appeal radiates from the exceptional visionary architecture that permeates every facet of this complex building. On entering Newman you discover new and exciting features intentionally placed to encourage students and staff to think. The strong mathematical undertones add to its intrigue making this design perfect for a “John Henry Newman” school. The design plays tribute to the creativity and initiative of the designers. Unsurprisingly, all who work, play and study in this place are captivated by its beauty; perfectly fit for purpose and satisfying our every need.

Project Practice Team

Aimee Bellette, Project Architect
Alicia Blaho, Student of Architecture
Edi Piagno, Project Architect
Gilbert Foster, Architectural Technician
Liam Oastler, Building Designer
Margarita Zorrilla, Graduate of Architecture
Richard Bonney, Architectural Technician
Roger Mainwood, Design Architect
Stefanie Field, Project Architect
Tom Sefton, Graduate of Architecture

Project Consultant and Construction Team

All Construction Approvals, Building Surveyor
ARUP Australia, Acoustic Consultant
ARUP Australia, ESD Consultant
ARUP Australia, Structural Engineer
CivilWalker Consulting, Civil Consultant
DotDash, Wayfinding and Signage
Gilboy Hydraulic Solutions, Hydraulic Consultant
LA3 Landscaoe, Landscape Consultant
Sequal Consulting Group, Electrical Consultant
Sequal Consulting Group, Mechanical Engineer

Connect with TPG Architects
Newman Catholic College | TPG Architects | Photographer: Andrew Watson

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