"The beautiful light-filled spaces have set the bar for what functional learning spaces and a modern workplace should incorporate"
Helen Elliott, Principal, All Hallows Catholic Primary School

All Hallows Catholic Primary School

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Sydney Catholic Schools
1 Halley St, Five Dock NSW 2046
Full Architectural Services

3025m² of new build and existing refurbishment


Future proofing a 100 year old school in Five Dock for generations to come.

Aimed to address the school’s tight site where outdoor play areas are scarce, BVN were originally engaged to develop a masterplan for All Hallows Catholic School in Five Dock. The project evolved to include a new building, indoor and outdoor learning spaces, a library, and administration and staff spaces.

Community is completely embedded in the new design. User group workshops with students, teachers and the wider school community established a series of guiding design principles that were foundational for the new and refurbished spaces. Addressed in BVN’s design are the school’s ambitions of creating adaptive and collaborative learning environments, showcasing the school’s identity and pedagogy, encouraging connectivity and diversity, enhancing a connection to nature and supporting a greater student capacity.

All Hallows Catholic School, Five Dock - architects BVN

The new building on Halley Street is a welcoming entrance for all. The simple built form extends from the existing brick building and wraps around the school boundary in a C shape. It relocates the administration from the centre of the school site, providing not only a more identifiable entrance but allowing better security for visitor sign in.

Outdoor verandahs link the new and original school buildings together at the upper end of the site by adapting to existing levels and establish connection routes through all floors of the buildings. The additional outdoor spaces also take advantage of the site’s location by creating access to views across the Parramatta River.

All Hallows Catholic School, Five Dock - architects BVN

New and refurbished learning spaces enable organic learning; sharing and connectivity is implicit in the design with less physical barriers between spaces and more collaboration zones for year groups to come together. A variety of shared learning pods and withdrawal rooms along corridors work to break up spaces for different learning activities while creating circulation routes for easy movement between classes and activities.

All Hallows Catholic School, Five Dock - architects BVN

All Hallows Catholic School, Five Dock - architects BVN

The school sits on a heavily sloped site with a 9-metre height difference from one end to the other. Prior to the refurbishment, the main outdoor space was separated by large ramp, cutting the school site, visually and physically disconnecting two halves of the school.
The courtyard is now a dynamic and connected place to mingle and play. By addressing the level difference with Landscape Architects Tyrrell Studios in the masterplan, the whole school are now able to come together for gatherings, outdoor learning and breaktimes. The bright and playful character of the space is expressed throughout the landscaping, outdoor circulation stairs, colourful graphics, and slippery dips running down the slope of the site.

All Hallows Catholic School, Five Dock - architects BVN


Brief Elements

  • 6 new general learning areas
  • Refurbishment of existing general learning areas
  • New entry and reception
  • New admin/staff
  • New library
  • Landscape element that connects to the play area below


  • Flexible, diverse learning spaces allowing for individual and group learning in a range of settings
  • Outdoor verandah with dedicated informal learning spaces provide panoramic view to the water
  • New outdoor amphitheater and slide improves connectivity of the landscape area
  • New library and makerspace with dedicated outdoor activity area


Steve Watts Construction
Currie and Brown
Project Management
Tyrrell Studio
Landscape Architect
Taylor Thomson Whitting
Structural Engineer
AJ Whipps
Hydraulics Engineer
Mechanical / Electrical / AV
Marshall Day
Net Zero Design
AED Consulting
Quantity Surveyor
City Plan