The building has been designed to integrate into the existing environment at Barker where the entire main campus has been designated by Hornsby Council as an item of heritage significance.
The shape of the building follows the natural contours of the building site and although of 5 storeys, its apparent effective height has been kept to 3 storeys by building into the natural land slope. This also enables easy access to the lowest 3 levels without the use of stairs or lifts.
The building provides new accommodation for the School’s Departments of English, Drama, Learning Support and Religious Studies. There are 23 Classrooms, 2 Lecture Theatres and approximately 10 other significant teaching spaces in the form of tutorial rooms, seminar and group study areas.
Most internal walls are non-load bearing to provide for flexibility of spaces and future changes as the need arises.
The external face brickwork has been designed to blend with the brickwork theme of the existing school buildings and the intricate details repeat the decorative ornamental brickwork of those buildings.
Although initial design sketches commenced in 2004, a conscious effort was made from the outset to provide an environmentally sustainable building.
These include emphasis on a good natural ventilation airflow system. There are 2 large vertical airshafts within the core of the building which discharge stale exhaust air above roof level. Fresh air flows into Classrooms via external windows where the airflow is naturally exhausted via ceiling grilles and false ceiling spaces into the airshafts at each floor level.
Automatically operable external louvres purge the building of hot and stale air overnight.
External windows are glazed with UV protective glazing, have external louvred sun control blades and internal sunscreen blinds.
Electrical power is generated by roof mounted solar collectors that feed power directly into the Supply Authority’s power grid.
Recycled rainwater is stored and used for reticulation to washroom sanitary fixtures.
Internal lighting is activated by movement sensors and lights only come on as needed.
Hot water is generated by solar energy with natural gas backup.
The external walls and roofs are heavily insulated to help maintain the designed internal room temperatures.
Internally, building finishes and materials have been selected to maximize the use of recycled and recyclable materials. Also the use of non-toxic materials and finishes provide for a healthy internal environment for the building’s occupants.