WMK’s challenge was to reinvent the notion of what a school building should be and deliver a built environment that delivers for the client’s far-reaching vision 


for a new learning paradigm that fosters a self-directed learning culture in a dynamic multi-modal environment.


WMK collaborated closely with Northern Beaches Christian School’s visionary principal, Stephen Harris and leading educators to understand the multi-modal learning paradigm


pioneered by NBCS and how the built environment could help shape a new culture for learning.

Image - students running
Image 3
Image - hero ext


WMK’s competition-winning design solution comprises a sequence of multi-level pavilion buildings sitting beneath a spectacular 3,000 sqm intelligent ‘living’ canopy which generates energy, harvests rainwater, and cools the spaces below.


The pavilions accommodate interactive learning spaces, science laboratory and student support facilities and the main reception and administration. A separate cafeteria with ‘treehouse’ seating platform above, forms the centre piece of the project.


Spaces are enabled for wireless technology, allowing for endless configurations for performing, learning and studying beneath the canopy. The centrally-located cafeteria creates a meeting place for students, teachers, parents and visitors alike and the outdoor stage and large screens complete the active, adaptable heart of the school.


Sustainability initiatives, including automated window ventilation, deliver beyond carbon saving and economic benefits, to impact on a social level by engaging students in monitoring the resource efficiencies including waste, and leading the ‘new normal’ through active learning.

Image - ext night
Image - lab



In a highly successful collaboration of education and built environment vision, the architectural design delivers a unique learning environment that identifies with the learning style of the next generation to engage young adults, re-shaping our thinking about how school buildings can be used to actively promote better learning and prepare students for future work environments.


Students and teaching staff have taken instantly to the new environment, encouraged to discover favourite places to work and interact. The notion of a classroom is superseded by indoor and outdoor collaborative spaces designed for multiple learning modes and non-hierarchical interaction.


WMK’s design is truly an ‘architecture of spaces’ which define the heart of the school campus and set a new benchmark for innovative learning in Australia and worldwide.

Image 5
Image 6


Winner - 2017 NSW AIA Awards - William E. Kemp Award for Educational Architecture

Winner - 2016 National AIA Awards - National Award for Sustainability

Winner - 2016 NSW AIA Awards - Milo Dunphy Award for Sustainable Architecture

Good Design Award – 2016 Good Design Awards (Residential & Commercial Architecture)


Finalist - 2017 INDE Awards

Finalist - 2016 Urban Taskforce Awards

Finalist - 2016 IDEA Awards

Finalist - 2016 BPN Sustainability Awards



Image 8


This unique project has received a large amount of media attention. The project has been featured in ArchDaily, The Daily Telegraph, Architecture & Design, Bookmarc, Dexigner, ArchitectureAU and Manly Daily.




Stage 1_Image 2
Stage 1_Image 1