Mary Mackillop Administration Building
60 Bage Street Nundah , Queensland 4102 Australia
Dario Dell ’Annunziata
Joey Gutierrez of Opus Architecture and Andrew Porfyri
The modernisation of Mary Mackillop College Nundah involved the relocation of the existing administration component of the college and provide a 3 level building containing staff administration facilities as well create a new home economics centre with contemporary facilities and new modernised art, drama and music spaces. Further to this, was the creation of a new front-door for the school, establishing a robust street presence and generating a beacon for visitors.
The building is split into 3 levels:
The ground level is a space for students. On this level are placed the home-economics, dining and catering kitchen rooms, which all flow out onto a wide covered walkway, which in turn flows into the new landscaped plaza. The dining room especially benefits from this arrangement – here it is granted the opportunity to expand into a protected alfresco dining space, slightly raised and overlooking the new plaza.
The middle level is the meeting point of students, staff and the community. This floor becomes flush with the sloping adjacent street, and is where parents and visitors access the reception. On the other side students arrive from a new covered link, raised one level off the ground, that skirts around the library and links into the Block A Classrooms at the school ‘s student entry. A wide double-height deck runs along the eastern end of the floor, not only providing shade but also creating an interface between the students and counsellors, whose offices open directly into this space.
The Top Level is a retreat for staff. On this floor is a large open plan work space for the staff, which transitions into a kitchen & common area to the north. From this space staff can look ahead at panoramic views across Brisbane to Moreton Bay, or they can cast a supervisory eye downwards over the school and plaza below.
Above all, the design seeks to respect and harmonise with its surrounding context. The material palette borrows the brick and concrete details from the adjacent building, and the form and scale of the building is matched to its neighbours. Along the west end, an array of fins provide protection from the sun, their colours derived from the shades of green and brown of the copper dome of the Corpus Christi Church on the opposite side of the street. On the east end, 3 storey high vine trellises grow up the columns of the deck and create a softened green edge to the plaza. ESD principles of orientation, sun protection, cross ventilation, water and electricity conservation have been used throughout. Through the design, this building, together with the new plaza and several other interventions, has sought to unify the disjointed cluster of existing buildings into a coherent and rationalised campus.