Russell Yelland

Caleruega Hall – Cabra Dominican College

Completed: 2019
Client: Cabra Dominican College, Cumberland Park

When a growing school is forced to rent large spaces off-campus for student assemblies, you know it’s time for an infrastructure rethink. But, to maximise bang for redevelopment buck, we knew the design of Caleruega Hall needed to achieve three key things: flexible function, intuitive flow, and an irresistible, flagship form.

What we did: Secondary school upgrade
New build
School Hall
School and community gymnasium

Capacity for sheltered gatherings was limited at Cabra Dominican College, but indoor sports scheduling had become a challenge too. A single-court, corrugated iron gymnasium was earmarked for replacement. The brief called for a double-court gym that would also serve as a space for school performances and community events.

Generous run-off zones and ceiling heights ensure the new courts comply as host for state netball competitions, while custom AV, lighting and retractable bleachers also support music and theatre performancesAmple foyer space and a small kitchen serve 1500-person events well: an attractive income proposition as a community space for hire.

Carefully engineered truss-like walls flank the uninterrupted 44-metre court span. With this intervention, unsightly columns were avoided – the simplified construction bringing project costs below budget. Maximising the hall’s footprint without losing a vital pedestrian thoroughfare was also key to optimising movement across the schoolMultiple student entries puncture the eastern boundary along this path, intuiting wayfinding and maintaining flows between the car park and the northern buildings.

The angular, hooded public entrance is now a proud landmark for the school’s Little Street kiss-and-drop zone – a feature echoed in the main student entry. Colorbond cladding offers a nod to the award-winning Therese Sweeney Music Centre, and laminated timber fins expressed around the hoods are strip-lit with LEDs – a sociable beacon at evening events. Indoors, there are two additional classrooms, consulting and teacher prep rooms, and expanded toilet and change facilities for students, teachers and umpires. With community front-of-mind, there is also a public EFM gym on site.

Photography credits:Sam Noonan