Architects: Suters Architects
Location: Kew, Victoria, Australia
Project Team: Joshua McAlister, Stasinos Mantzis, Wilson Heng, Peter Smith
Building Contractor: Contract Control
Project year: 2008
Photographs: Gollings Photography
The big idea behind the new Sacred Heart Primary School Library was to create an interior which referenced the religious culture of the school in a subtle way using a reinterpretation of the visual language of Catholicism. It explicitly drives innovative design thinking by having the school’s identity manifest itself on the exterior and interior of the building, via imagery of the school’s name sake, The Sacred Heart. This provides a sense of place particular to the client group, the Parish of the Sacred Heart.
The project was an urban infill exercise with the site being an asphalt playground placed between two impressive nineteenth century buildings, the Sacred Heart Church and the adjacent School Hall. Care was taken to respectfully balance the library between these autonomous presences while adding to the continuity of the site.
The literal expression of the bleeding heart of Jesus is represented in plan as a morph of a series of traditional heart shapes. Images of the Human Heart bisected by a Love Heart form the base geometry for the layout of the walls. This starting point produces a distorted plan which does not address the polite ideas of scale or proportion but rather a fantastical urban condition.
The client required a multi-functional space that functioned as an I.T. classroom, Library, Reading Recovery and a Learning Centre. The multi disciplinary space is large and column free, dissected with a high level clerestory roof formed from the overarching Crown of Thorns. The clerestory encourages a reliance on natural lighting and natural ventilation, lifting the teaching space from utilitarian to one possessing ethereal qualities with a double volume reminiscent of the adjacent church and halls.