Daramalan College:

Dempsey Science Laboratory

The Dempsey Building at Daramalan college was designed as a multi-purpose science laboratory, to replace the existing chemistry labs which were 60 years old and no longer fit for purpose. Designed using solar passive principles, Dempsey incorporates several elements of sustainable design, including brick walls (to moderate temperatures in the changing seasons) a 12-meter-long living wall in the solar corridor, double glazed windows, high levels of insulation and solar orientation.

The building also incorporates a variety of art works and installations that help to make a beautiful and inspiring space for the teachers and students who work there. Sculptured metalwork, bamboo and solid timber fitting and fixtures, decorative brick work, and glass art from Liz Kelly were thoughtfully included in the design.

The set out of the desks has been based on organic geometry and the desks themselves are elliptical rather than square. This captures the physical structure of nature and the universe, which is appropriate for the field of study and work of the students using the space.

Dempsey creates an edge to the campus and a connection back to the school of hospitality. Construction was completed in 2017

Garrat Wing: Hospitality

Daramalan Garratt Wing was designed to replace an ageing hospitality building. Relocated adjacent the oval playing fields to cater for sporting and carnival events. The project was designed with two teaching kitchens and a high end kitchen that is completely restaurant capable and is connected to a bar servery and dining area that overlooks the playing fields.

The form of Garrat Wing responds to the existing gym. The roof increases in pitch as you move away from the gym, as if you were turning the pages of a book. It is then juxtaposed by a reverse angled roof over the stair tower. 

A cross with coloured glass that is highlighted at night forms a book end for the campus. 

Lysaught Building: Automotive and Metal Workshop

Daramalan Lysaught Automotive and Metalwork Building was designed as a space for students as well as a trade training centre that offers automotive, construction and engineering courses.

It boasts a range of automotive symbology starting with the bricks, right down to the details of exhaust inspired downpipes.

A perforated acoustic ceiling and highly durable materials allow the high tech equipment to be put to full use.

 Externally, memorabilia is shown through salvaged bricks from the old building in the form of a cross on the right wall near the main entrance.

In support of local artists, timber craftsman Gino Monteleone from Select Custom Joinery, installed a large red gum heart between two metal posts outside the entry.

The adjacent shade structure acts like a link between Lysaught and the rest of the school. The unique exposed trusses, completed in collaboration with Northrop Engineers, show what can be achieved with metal work.

Sharpe Technology Building

The Daramalan Sharpe Technology Building was conceived as an energy efficient building that demonstrated ESD and general building technology to students. The building is a two-storey building that wraps around the existing two-storey drama and art building.

On the ground floor there are woodwork rooms, spray booths and storage. On the first floor there are CAD computer rooms, drafting rooms, textiles rooms, staff room and toilet facilities.

The environmental systems and technologies include passive solar design, thermal break double glazed windows, insulating concrete block work separating footings from slab and walls, timber trusses, high efficiency evaporative coolers and night purge cooling systems operated by the building management system.

Artisan works promote trade skills in the building industry and include in this project; hand crafted timber trusses above the woodwork room made from Jarrah, Blackbutt and Blue gum Australian hardwoods.

Artist works promote the work of local artists and include; feature glass mirrored tiles in bathrooms and a centre piece artwork at the end of the main corridor of a "spiralling heart" commissioned by Daramalan School from local Canberra glass artist Elizabeth Kelly from Tangerine Glass Studio.

The building was designed as a highly energy efficient sustainable building. The building has low annual running costs from use of solar passive systems and higher than required insulation wrapping the building envelope.

The building utilises wider than standard cavity brick construction with thermal blocks at slab wall junctions to enable the building insulation envelope to be continuous.

Insulation has been placed under the slab, through the slab wall junction, in the brick cavity and across ceiling spaces and under roof.

St Jude’s Holder Pre-School

The brief for St Jude’s Holder Pre-school was to create a light filled space inside that connects to the naturescape outside via a sun trap room. The sun trap room is a space where children can move and play freely between indoors and outdoors no matter what time of year or whether conditions.

The two pre-school rooms are joined by big glass sliding doors to create a larger common play space or two smaller ones depending on the activities and time of day.

Each room has it’s own greenhouse garden play room to the north. Winter sun is captured in these rooms and provides a sheltered, protected and warm environment during cold and rainy days. In summer the garden rooms are shaded with sun awnings, this along with the brick and concrete surfaces help retain a cool environment for the summer months.

Orana School

Overture Hall

Orana Steiner School's educational philosophy is based on the work of Rudolf Steiner and focuses on the growth and development of the whole child. Music and singing is apart of the everyday curriculum, inspiring creative and flexible thinking.

The Overture Hall is a highly practical and beautifully crafted building, providing much needed space to exhibit performing arts for both students and travelling talent.

Materials have been selected and placed to enhance the excellent acoustics, a feature being the staggered and offset brickwork on either side of the auditorium.

Promoting the work of local artists, Elizabeth Kelly from Tangerine Glass Studio, was commissioned to do the delicate, yet sturdy glass art between the brickwork. Our use of sweeping curves and geometric shapes throughout the building are inspired by organic forms in nature.


Orana's new Kindergarten was briefed to replace the original building, which burnt down in the 2003 Canberra Bushfires.

The new site is located higher up the hill and enabled a journey through the school to a terraced rock waiting area where the children can enter a magical zone through a bespoke jarrah gate.

The entry court leads onto the kindergarten cloakroom, then into an octagonal shaped room with a faceted ceiling, as if inside a low tent shaped structure.

These rooms are finished with timber parquetry flooring, solid timber furniture, bread making benches, flour mills and various play areas.

Window shapes mirror the roof structure, allowing the whole space to become a nest for an emerging child into the realm of knowledge.

This kindergarten building flows onto an enchanting spiral garden, a truly beautiful landscape that is enhanced by waterharvesting.

St Thomas Apostle Primary School 

St Thomas the Apostle Primary School, Kambah was an old school that was rabbit warren of internal rooms, leaving no access to outside apart from the main entrances.

The schools new pedagogy was being interpreted in the creation of flexible,light filled, open learning spaces that allowed collaborative activity between classrooms and class groups.

We master-planned the entire school, scoping the project to be done in two stages which allowed the school to remain in occupation during construction.

All internal closed in rooms were demolished, leaving an external shell supported by steel columns, opening the interior right up.

New classroom spaces were created with the use of sliding glass walls that could be closed or opened up to join classrooms and allocate central meeting places.

All internal skylights were converted into solar chimneys to purge warm air at night. All external windows were removed and replaced with double glazed sliding units for access to new garden meeting places and encourage connections with the natural landscape.

Internal columns and brick work are detailed with sounds absorbing pin-boards and cladding to create a warm and child friendly environment, while the use of patterned coloured glass cast colours of dappled light through the hallway.

Old crack concrete was removed and replaced with garden nooks edged with seating rocks and central shaded trees.

We enjoyed superintending the entire project with the help from local artists, craftsman and tradespeople.

The finely crafted timber entry was completed by Gino Monteleone from Select Custom Joinery, with accents of coloured glass by Elizabeth Kelly from Tangerine Glass Studio.

TOK finished the rest of the carpentry, while R and F were in charge of construction management.

All of the effort, management and design allowed the building to win BER RAIA Education Prize of the year in 2011 

Blue Gum School:

Blue Gum School provides a truly unique learning environment. Formed by a group of teachers and parents who were disappointed with the one-size fits all education approach, they cater to children's individual needs and allow new models of communication, challenges and experiences.

After in depth communication and exciting discovery, we recognised that outdoor adventure and exploring is an important part of Blue Gum's education program. By collaborating with timber craftsman Gino Monteleone from Select Custom Joinery, we implemented natural materials and organic shapes, which allowed their environmental focus to be brought forward, as well as create a welcoming and interesting interior to suit the holistic teaching.

To help an old building become comfortable, thermal break double glazed doors and windows have been installed, along with coloured glass to keep the ordinary extraordinary.