2016 National Architecture Awards: Sustainable Architecture Award

Northern Beaches Christian School by WMK Architecture Sustainable Architecture: National Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

Northern Beaches Christian School has been reconfigured to allow for both indoor and outdoor learning environments. The architects have reconnected existing classrooms and established new collaborative spaces under an impressive eleven-metre-high, three-thousand-square-metre canopy. A series of multi-level pavilions provide a variety of new spaces, including a science laboratory, main reception and administration as well as a separate cafeteria, outdoor stage, seating and other flexible outdoor learning spaces. It’s an approach that encourages freedom of learning and interaction, while also allowing students to connect with the local environment.

While open, the outdoor spaces are protected by the prefabricated steel structure, which offers a range of environmental efficiencies. These include energy generation and rainwater harvesting as well as intelligently controlled lighting, ventilation and shading. Sustainability goals are advanced by the students’ ability to actively engage with and monitor the building’s performance, which teachers can incorporate within their programs. This high-quality project is a pleasure to experience, with a sequence of spaces that are logical, playful and easy to move through. The architects’ close collaboration with the school and its principal has created a vision for an educational environment that promotes communication, creativity and play, sharing strong social and sustainability outcomes.


WMK Architecture
Project Team
Greg Barnett (principal architect); John Andreas (design architect); Laurie Day (project architect)
AV consultant Scott Willsallen
Access consultant Christine Cheung
Acoustic consultant Peter Griffiths
BCA Tony Heaslip
Builder Cockram Construction
Bushfire consultant David Peterson
Certifier Vicki Little, Mariusz Para
Civil consultant Clare Woods
Cost consultant David Noble
ESD consultant Tim Elgood
Electrical consultant Janet Tam, Shane Mercer
Hydraulic consultant David Tenner
Interior designer Denisse Milton, Karina Simpson
Land surveyor CMS Surveying
Landscape consultant Matthew Taylor
Mechanical consultant Peter Morton
Project manager Kathryn Cuno
Structural consultant Scott Clemmett
Town planning John McFadden
Traffic consultant Craig McLaren
Underground service Cardno
Site Details
Location Sydney,  NSW,  Australia
Site type Coastal
Project Details
Status Built
Completion date 2015
Category Public / commercial
Type Schools



Published online: 3 Nov 2016
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2016
Images: Brett Boardman


Architecture Australia, November 2016

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