Queensland Department of Education
Mitchelton, Brisbane
Traditional Custodians of the Land
Turrubul and Jagara people

About the project

The Renewing our Schools Programme, launched by the Queensland State Government enabled selected schools the opportunity to determine a prioritised scope of work within a fixed budget that best addressed opportunities to advance learning outcomes particular to each school. For Mitchelton SHS, three critical projects were identified, a new Multi-Purpose Hall to replace their existing facility, a new Resource Centre and a new Covered Sports Court. Preliminary analysis indicated that the school could either select a new Multi-Purpose Hall or Resource Centre within the budget.

Conrad Gargett suggested a rethink of the proposed brief via a blue-sky workshop. This workshop concluded that rather than demolish the existing 1960’s era sports hall, it could be “re-skinned” and transformed into a new facility without significant loss of capability to the school. This strategy enabled all parts of the project to be delivered within the brief as well as significantly reducing the construction time frame.

With the brief settled, Conrad Gargett commenced a process of addressing Mitchelton SHS’s ambition of delivering inclusive education where students can access and fully participate in the learning process to encourage critical thinking through enquiry and problem solving. Ideas of inclusiveness, joy and community pride were the key drivers for the manifestation of the architecture. The architectural outcomes combine site and program specific initiatives with a broader contextual response.

Design strategy – Multi-Purpose Hall

The existing sports hall was stripped back entirely and the structure retained to form the bones of the new space. The entry forecourt provides a generous external multi-purpose gathering and learning space which also acts as an external foyer for hall functions.

Entry to the hall is via internal sub-foyers which sit either side of an amenities and servicing hub – which also contains the audio-visual control room for the hall stage. The southern foyer provides the primary access and box-office functions while the northern foyer doubles as a school art gallery space.

Design strategy – Resource Centre

The Resource Centre combined the school’s Information Technology Hub, Library and Montessori Learning Centre into two north-south oriented pavilions joined by a single planar roof. The pavilions are sited at different levels in response to the site topography and are joined via an internal ramp network. The first part, the Montessori Learning Rooms, new Information Technology Hub and Resource Centre and Staff Room, are located on a lower level within the library and students of distance education rooms co-located on an upper level which corresponds to the site’s topography. A single cohesive roof element sails the building and is folded up and down to improve visual presence and reduce solar gain as required. The roof form gestures toward the adjacent road and provides a visual beacon marking the school’s presence.


Significant glazing is provided to the hall façades maximising visual permeability and access of natural daylight. A perimeter shade awning skirts the entire building, providing shade and weather protection as well as adding character to the existing building.


A robust material palette has been adopted including aluminium, concrete, and compressed fibre cement cladding. The building also incorporates extensive high performance glazing and adjustable glass louvres throughout, offering abundant natural light and ventilation into the spaces.