Santa Maria College- Multipurpose Hall and Mercy Garden

Sisters of Mercy Amalgamated Inc

Attadale, Perth

EMCO Building

March 2011

Andrew Pritchard Photography/Matt Gilligan Photographer


Stage 2 of EIW Architects involvement at Santa Maria College evolved as part of the Federal Government’s BER program. The existing Sports Centre, with stage and change rooms was completely renovated internally, and a new full size court with retractable seating built adjacent. The two large spaces are integrated to create the impression of one building, with external rendering and new roofing tying the existing building into the developing aesthetic of the College. The two sports spaces are divided by an operable wall which can be opened to allow for a full school assembly or performances when required. Due to the high acoustic nature of the dividing wall, noisy sports activities can occur at the same time as other learning activities, giving flexibility to the internal spaces. As part of the new works, additional facilities were included such as a weights room, sports teaching classrooms, and a small commercial kitchen for events.

Following completion of the Hall Building, attention turned to the empty space between the two buildings, which had by now been a sandy, off-limits construction site for three years. At 2250 sqm and with a 4.5 metre fall across the site, EIW Architects recognised the space could be utilised for many learning opportunities. Following initial consultation with landscape architect Gardens From Eden, a concept for a mix of spaces for different sized class groups was developed. A circular seating wall encloses one of the original jacaranda trees on the site, with the College’s values embossed in stainless steel in the paving. An amphitheatre space has the capacity for two classes for an outdoor classroom experience or performance and flat spaces are large enough for volleyball courts if required. The Mercy Garden is an extension to the learning spaces offered at the College, and has also been used for after-hours concerts and performances.

The Mercy Garden provides the foreground learning space for the main classroom building on campus
The building has an outlook over the Swan River
The existing builing, under the red roof- ties together with the new part of the building to the south
The existing sports hall was rejuvenated with polished floorboards, refinished walls, and new ceilings, lights and services
The new addition to the building, a sports hall creates a space that can be separated from the rest of the college
The new rejuvenated sports centre includes a weights training room
Multiple levels within the Mercy Garden allow for different activities throughout the day
The Mercy Garden has a range of large flat spaces for different size groups to take their learning outside
A new biobox and large scale operable wall divide the two sports halls, allowing access during full school assemblies