Our Lady of Mercy College, Burraneer

Our Lady of Mercy College (OLMC), at Burraneer in Sydney, has seen the completion of a 4 year Master Plan, revitalising their entire campus and investing in students, current and future.

As it looks to enhance its year 7 to 10 offering, Sydney Catholic Schools engaged Fulton Trotter Architects to design the Catherine McAuley building, accommodating 20 general and specialist teaching spaces and a light-filled, internal flexible learning area.

The need for breakout spaces, extending beyond the confines of the classroom, led to the decision to internalise the normally external space between two proposed buildings. This created the opportunity for a pivotal two-storey central building to act as a hub, connecting students seamlessly with all campus facilities.

The new classrooms are all connected both physically and visually to a central flexible learning area located across the two levels. This provides opportunities for a variety of teaching and learning experiences and structures, accommodating social learning, group work, areas for performances and quiet individual study areas. With a fully integrated AV system, and large drop-down screens, this space can adapt to facilitate large group gatherings and intimate, casual presentations.

Each learning area is individually designed with its own distinct look and feel, distinguished by the colour, shapes and scale of finishes. The inspiration behind this concept was to reflect the individuality of students and encourage diversity and expression.

Specialist learning spaces reference professional work environments with textiles rooms featuring mannequins in a ‘storefront window’; commercial standard food technology spaces, scaled down to domestic group kitchens; and science labs mimicking state-of-the-art research facilities, enticing students to don lab coats.

Outmoded, cellular classrooms and dark, straight corridors have been replaced with open, connected learning spaces designed to support modern teaching and learning methods. Electronic operable walls and mobile furniture allow spaces to easily transform to accommodate whole year groups. These multifunctional spaces are flexible and scalable to allow students and teachers to engage in a variety of learning activities.

The building has successfully transformed the ambiance of the school and created spaces that promote student-centred learning that are interactive and relevant to a 21st century learning environment. Multiple flexible spaces are inspiring and engaging, encouraging social interaction between students, teachers and parents and creating an overall sense of inclusion and connection. It also successfully supports the College’s philosophy of “Nurturing girls – Creating women”.

The school has become a benchmark facility within the Sydney Catholic School’s network, with the Facilities Manager and Regional Consultant facilitating tours for other Principals across the Sydney network.

Photo: Our Lady of Mercy College, Burraneer NSW
Photographer: Brett Boardman