Design Brief

Steve Anderson Building Design called upon to design a multi-purpose school hall for the Cathedral School, Bathurst, as part of the Commonwealth Government Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan.

The Cathedral School is in the Bathurst heritage conservation area and is adjacent to the 150 year old, Cathedral of St Michael and St John, which is listed as a heritage item of State level significance.

As such, Heritage Conservation was the first design principle to be embraced when design plans were constructed for a school multi-functional, performing, assembly and indoor sports hall.

The hall needed to seat 500 and include all associated facilities.

The building also had to comply with Catholic Block Grant Authority (CBGA) guidelines for BER Primary School Halls.

Design Solution

Heritage Conservation was considered and discussed extensively at every point of the project’s development, including at a meeting with Bathurst Regional Council planners and heritage adviser, Architect Barbara Hickson early in the design stage.

The ‘footprint’ placement of the Hall revealed itself as a result of site analysis and the client's accessibility requirements.

With the project designed to be sympathetic to the Cathedral, there were elements of the building that required some differing construction techniques. The main building was a simple tilt panel concrete structure but built off this were 'Bathurst Red' face brickwork gabled roof annexes, stores, amenities and buttress columns to keep the similarities of the Cathedral.

Handmade sandstone parapet capping’s were also fitted to the tops of the panels, masonry walls and buttress columns and the roof was increased from a normal pitch to match the Cathedral.

The single existing element on the open site that was to be conserved was the 100 year old English Elm Tree. Conservation of this tree and incorporation into the cartilage of the new, as well providing protection from the western sun was achieved by the careful design of the hall entry and foyer.

A commercial kitchen, extensive toilet facilities, a dedicated first floor sound room, stage including back stage facilities, performing theatre facilities, indoor sports facilities, storage rooms and seating for 500 people were all built within the budget guidelines.

CBGA guidelines for BER Primary School Halls relative to floor area per school size & numbers, budget costs per floor area & associated facilities were complied with via the floor plan design.

Designer Steve Anderson, believes the sensitive design will leave the legacy of a beautiful, functional, infill building in the Cathedral precinct and the Bathurst Conservation Area.

According to Mr Anderson, the heritage conservation design has gained positive feedback and universal approval from all sections of the Bathurst community.


Consultants & Contractors

Designer - Steve Anderson, Steve Anderson Building Design

Photographer - Steve Anderson, Chris Seabrook

Drafting technician - Brett Moulds

Interior designer - Tony Ward


This article was written with the assistance of Building Designers Australia.