"This building represents the cutting edge of contemporary learning"
Philip Vivian, Jury chair, RAIA

Ravenswood Mabel Fidler Building

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Ravenswood School for Girls
Ravenswood School for Girls, Henry Street, Gordon, New South Wales, Australia
February 2008 - July 2011
Full Architectural Services

3,500m² Internal GFA

1,000m² External Coverage Space


Initiated through a master planning process, the Mabel Fidler Building is the new main entrance to Ravenswood School for Girls and functions as the school’s central hub. The primary facility of the building is a state-of-the-art learning centre, the 21st century library, designed to empower students and facilitate self-directed learning. The project provides spaces for formal and informal learning, staff and student lounges, a café, specialist performing arts spaces and school reception, and administration.

The building is in scale with existing school buildings, and represents a modern insertion into a campus of varied buildings. The design addresses several issues including site accessibility, connectivity between adjacent buildings and usability of external areas. The Henry Street entrance aids site security, while the entry courtyard, at the heart of the project, provides an external space for the school community. Dramatic cantilevers, created by raising the library onto the upper level, provide a number of covered spaces where informal learning can take place.

At the centre of the school is an oval, which the building addreses. At this end of the building a large canopy roof floats over a new verandah to the major public space of the school, and allows the building to be read from the Pacific Highway.

The building integrates passive and active sustainable design solutions, which form part of the education program for students.


Australian Steel Institute Large Projects Highly Commended
MBA NSW Private School Construction Award
RAIA NSW Sir John Sulman Award for Public Architecture
RAIA Public Building Awards
Think Brick Horbary Hunt Award
Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award

Brief Elements

  • Library
  • Multimedia Booths
  • Junior Library
  • Informal Learning Spaces
  • Administration
  • Formal Learning Spaces
  • Cafe and Commercial Kitchen
  • Library Workspaces
  • Auditorium Seating


  • New Main Entrance and Improved Connectivity between Adjacent Buildings
  • Clarification of Campus Levels on a Sloping Site
  • Flexible, Diverse Design of the Library allows individual and Group Learning Areas
  • Dual Function Stairway and Grandstand Seating
  • Upper Level Double Skin Façade with an External Layer of Translucent Polycarbonate Hollowcore Façade Panels (First time used in Non-industrial Building in Australia) which allows the Internal Layer of Translucent White Glass to be used as Whiteboards


Taylor Thomson Whitting
Facade, Structural, Civil Engineer
Mechanical & Hydraulic Engineer, Fire Protection, Electrical
Davis Langdon
Funktion - Make Lift Fit
Wilkinson Murray
Acoustic Engineer
WT Partnership
Quantity Surveyor
Fire Engineer
Project Manager
Cockram Construction
Main Contractor