"Delightfully beautiful, functional and agile spaces conducive to learning that engages and enthuses"
Cathy Young, School Principal

Our Lady of the Assumption Primary School

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Catholic Education Office
1a Hamilton Street East, North Strathfield, New South Wales, Australia
October 2013 - May 2015
Full Architectural Services

1,000m² Stage 1

4,200m² Stage 2


Our Lady of the Assumption is a completely new primary school that reuses a 1970 three storey former Telstra training centre. The building – a typical institutional example of brutalist concrete architecture of its time – presented a number of challenges in turning it into an inspirational educational space. It is only the first stage of transforming the whole site to a two-stream school (K-6), accommodating 420 students at full capacity.

The overarching design approach is to provide flexible and open learning spaces using materials that create a warm atmosphere. Of equal importance was the need to produce a variety of differently scaled spaces to suit small children together with a high use of technology. Both movable screens and joinery that includes shelves, built in seats and withdrawal space, enable different configurations for teaching.

While the existing concrete structure is partially exposed to acknowledge the original building, the extensive use of timber in floors, wall panelling, ceiling and joinery creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

The central spine (called the bridge) is elevated one step up and whilst it connects the length of the space it also provides another variety of learning space.

The only enclosed areas are the two small group withdrawal spaces that form the central component of the free-standing plywood joinery elements. The administration areas on the other side of the bridge are fully transparent and visible to the whole school community.

In order to increase daylight penetration and enable natural ventilation the whole ground floor brick façade was demolished and replaced by high performance timber framed double glazing. Large bi-fold doors open the space to the external timber deck, thereby blurring the boundary between inside and outside to extend the learning spaces.

There is minimal use of colour, allowing the predominant material natural timber to provide a calm background to the busy teaching and learning of small children.


1a Hamilton Street East, North Strathfield, New South Wales, Australia


  • Flexible, diverse design of learning spaces allowing individual and group learning areas, with translucent sliding panels and intimate nooks
  • Central elevated timber platform as extension of learning spaces


Taylor Thomson Whitting
Structural Engineer
Mechanical / Electrical / AV Consultant
BCA Logic
BCA Consultant
Silk Consulting
Landscape Architect
AJ Whipps
Hydraulic / Fire Services
Accessible Building solutions
DDA Consultant
Robinson Urban Planning
Wilde and Woollard
Quantity Surveyor
Traffic Engineer / ESD Consultant / Fire Engineering
Anthony Protas