2019 National Architecture Awards: National Award for Sustainable Architecture

Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School by BVN.

Jury citation

Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School showcases a holistic approach, where decisions about sustainability are inseparable from the architecture. The project retains the structure of an existing 1970s concrete building – a former Telstra training centre. The linear plan and favourable orientation of the structure were ideally suited to its repurposing as a school.

A mass timber structure of glulam posts and beams, and cross-laminated timber floors, walls, roofs and a beautiful folding stair, is the dominant visible move and provides a significant carbon store. The architects have worked to preserve the timber structure as a finished surface, cleverly integrating services and managing fire safety. The architecture exploits the benefits of timber to wellbeing, applied to a learning environment for children. The use of timber also signals a heartfelt commitment to sustainability.

The plan layout maximizes passive control, with indoor learning areas connecting to generous north-facing outdoor spaces. A high-performance envelope with operable timber doors and windows allows the building to operate effectively in mixed mode. The design delivers demonstrably flexible learning spaces within an architecture that is calm and controlled.

Every experience is a learning opportunity; at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School, the architecture becomes an educator.

Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School is located in North Strathfield, New South Wales and is built on the land of the Wangal people of the Eora nation.


Project Team
Julian Ashton (principal), Knut Menden (project director), Adriana Haindl, Alan Monckton-Milnes, Barry Cantor, Fiona Young, Jamie Don, Jamie Yoo, Jonathan Capparelli, Kim Small, Lucy Rimmer, Mateusz Sum, Patrik Typpo, Sara Pellegrini, Woramon Chanakitkarnchai
Audiovisual consultant JHA Consulting Engineers
BCA consultant BCA Logic
Certifier Group DLA
DDA Consultant Accessible Building Solutions
Fire engineer Arup
Fire services Olsson Fire and Risk
Hydraulic engineer AJ Whipps Consulting Group, AJ Smith
Mechanical and electrical engineer JHA Consulting Engineers
Planner Robinson Urban Planning
Quantity surveyor Wilde and Woollard
Structural engineer TTW
Superintendent BVN
Traffic consultant PTC
Site details
Category Commercial / public buildings
Type Schools
Project Details
Status Built



Published online: 7 Nov 2019
Words: 2019 National Awards Jury
Images: Brett Boardman


Architecture Australia, November 2019

Related topics

More award

See all
Blacksmith Lake Mulwala by The Stella Collective. Winners revealed: 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards

The winners of the 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards were announced at a ceremony in Melbourne on 12 November.

Cumulus Inc. by Pascale Gomes-McNabb. 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards: Hall of Fame

Cumulus Inc. by Pascale Gomes-McNabb.

The Magic Box by Liminal Objects with Van Tuil. 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards: Best Installation Design

The Magic Box by Liminal Objects with Van Tuil.