Ravenswood School for Girls by BVN Architecture
Public Architecture: National Award
Australian Institute of Architects
The Mabel Fidler Building on Sydney’s North Shore is a transformational building that provides insight into the twenty-first-century school. Importantly, the new building provides Ravenswood School for Girls with a new front door and also functions as the central hub and heart of the school.
Dramatic cantilevers were created by raising the library onto the upper level, thus providing a number of covered spaces below for shelter and informal learning. In the entry courtyard that sits at the centre of the project there is a new cafe that opens out to views of the adjacent oval in one direction and inwards to views of the bridges that link the administration, junior and senior libraries, offering a blur of movement as staff and students move around the buildings.
The ground level has brick walls that pick up on the masonry materials used in the existing campus, while the upper levels are on a steel frame with a translucent cladding. Together with the significant cantilever, this steel-clad upper level gives the appearance of hovering over the base. At the oval end of the building a large canopy roof floats over a large verandah that opens off the courtyard atrium and allows the building to be read from the Pacific Highway across the oval.