The new St Philip's Christian Education Foundation (SPCEF) Central Office is located on the former Anglican Church site at the Waratah Campus and focuses on innovation and environmental sustainability, showing the heart of SPCEF. The 3-storey building is a civic contribution to the school community, with direct reference to the 1920’s St Philip’s Church, which remains adaptively re-purposed.
The form of the building and materiality compliments the existing church, without mimicking it. It is a long simplified rectangular form accented with moments of delight. The skillion roof ensures a wash of soft light permeates through the building. The contrasting banded dark brick on the new building juxtaposes the original decorative cream ecclesiastical bricks.The building is made with four tiers, that draw from the materiality and forms on the existing Newcastle campus. A sandstone ground floor tier represents the strength and strong foundations of SPCC, tying the building into the site. The dominant mid-tier of black brick faces the existing church, as a play in reflection of form and materiality, a glass ‘town hall’ upper tier links the new building into the existing church with transparency and openness, A top tier defined by a triangular light filled white ridge provides ecclesiastical references. Natural-daylighting is achieved through large south-facing louvre windows at the apex of the building, with open voids allowing light and air to flow throughout the building. The thermal performance of the glass was also increased to reduce the need for excessive cooling through the air-conditioning system. The external envelope utilises a Dincel walling system across most of the building, which increases the thermal performance of the whole building, aiming to reduce the reliance on air-conditioning for heating and cooling by moderating the internal temperature of the spaces.
The building provides areas of modern teaching pedagogies spaces as well as flexible open plan office spaces. Sufficient natural daylight enters the building, there is a clear connection from inside to outside, and the open plan spaces are utilised for numerous functions including self-directed work, collaborative teamwork and classroom space, as well as still maintaining a smaller explicit work-spaces.
The new Central Office celebrates the staff and executive of this remarkable education provider. It stands as a symbol of strength, unity and growth of SPCEF to the surrounding community. The building contains the unique new SPCC Teaching School, where SPCC staff are taught modern teaching pedagogies in spaces that replicate the modern teaching spaces provided across SPCC campuses.