“IT TOOK 18 MONTHS OF REFINEMENT FOR
AN ABSOLUTELY DISTILLED, SHARPLY FOCUSED
RESULT THAT NEEDED TO MEET SOME PRETTY
DEMANDING DESIGN REGULATIONS AND
REACT WELL TO A BRILLIANT SITE.”
stablished in 1971, the Catholic Ladies College
(CLC) owes a greater debt to suburban bricks
and mortar than mud brick cottages, or French
provincial chateaux. CLC’s new Performing Arts and
Religious Centre steps confidently from these two
First impressions are vital and the new centre
heralds students and visitors with a contemporary
wave rather than tired pastiche. Until the centre’s
completion, a dour ’70s brick gymnasium block
provided a blank greeting and poor first impression.
Design director Chris Hose and his team have
shaped a vibrant, defining ‘entrance’ building. Its
presence sets a whole new standard gateway to
the school. The project’s dual need as chapel and
musical performance centre could have easily
led to a design muddle. The project needed to
express dignity and calm while promising a highperformance recital space. Chapel and sacristry,
seating for 220, a wish list of tutorial rooms and
other assorted support spaces convincingly
absorbed under one roof. No easy task.
The environmentally sensitive site occupies a
steep landscaped embankment that separates the
school buildings from the lower sports ovals.
The solution is subordinate and supportive of
function. The soft grey metal clad box has key
openings to the east-facing projection across the
playing fields and south-facing visitor approach.
Steel cladding and glass combine a real modernity
that fully connects with landscape and sky.
Main performance and religious space
on a north / south elevation allows main
feature glazing to open fully to setting.
Staggered glazing across two levels
breaks convention of standard grid with
added flexibility to open and permit