St Pauls International School’s campus is located in the Southern Highlands on the edge of the MossVale business area, although the environment inside the School gates relates more to the European Rural Ideal Countryside rather than the nearby shops, station and busy commercial area. The school’s existing buildings include the original main Centre and Chapel which were constructed over a century ago in French provincial style as well as a number of much less inspiring classrooms and Colleges built in the late 1980’s.
The new St Paul’s Residential College which we designed for the school was intended to exemplify the modern and tasteful new direction chosen for the School since its purchase by the St Paul de Chatres Order, as well as satisfying an immediate need for additional accommodation. The School has developed a specialty in preparing International Students for entry to Australian Universities while affording a high level of Pastoral care for the children in their care.
The school’s brief called for a 40 student room facility with integrated student supervisor spaces as well communal student commons for informal and formal activities. In addition to the accommodation rooms the design included shared Living, Kitchen and Study areas as well as a private wing for visiting dignitaries, parents and guests of the school. The rooms were laid out on 2 levels, both to create a building which responded to the scale of existing built environment and to create two equal sized groupings of rooms and facilities allowing the flexibility of allocating each floor of the building as a ‘stand alone’ boys or girls college
The design was developed as a simple and elegant response, producing a sculptural modernist design with a dramatic appearance derived from the repetitive nature of the program and its interaction with the sloping site. The building is constructed from a dark brick which as well as being produced locally helps tie the new building to the existing built environment of the campus. The accommodation wings were separated from the new living and support areas to create an acoustic break, the new internal courtyards created between the wings have been designed as Oriental rock gardens to encourage contemplation and reduce their need for upkeep. The building is unashamedly modern helping to portray the aspirations of the School, the building is located at the western edge of the campus with a frontage to the main road into the MossVale township helping to create a new town gateway as well as a marker for the School.