Cranbrook School Wolgan Valley chimney

Architecture meets pedagogy in this project, the first stage of a sustainable rural school in the Greater Blue Mountains.

Design intent

The design intent was to place emphasis on the experience of the student, creating a space to help enrich their education, build their sense of wonder, respect for nature and other students. The challenge was to integrate the poetic qualities of the site with the robust, utilitarian building forms needed to support the students’ educational needs.


Cranbrook School Wolgan Valley accommodation

Buildings are arranged around a primary architectural feature, the ‘Crescent’. Essentially, this is an architectural enhancement of the natural bowl of the site, which provides a degree of containment where the escarpment backdrop recedes.

Cranbrook School Wolgan Valley masterplan

‘Rituals of stewardship’ have been incorporated throughout the site, facilitated by the buildings’ passive environmental technologies. Students must collect wood and operate the fire to provide hot water for others in their lodge using a wet-back combustion heater system. The ‘stewardship garden’ is also tended to by the students, assisting the site’s environmental remediation. A series of participatory workshops will also be held to instruct students on how to construct dramatic rammed earth walls throughout the campus.

Cranbrook School Wolgan Valley timber