Waruga House – a creative future

Education & Research
by Graham

It takes a school with vision and strong leadership to embark on a major upgrade of its campus to anticipate evolving methods of learning. It also presents an opportunity to reshape the existing built environment to align with the needs and aspirations of the institution, and so it is at Edmund Rice College.

Edmiston Jones designed and delivered Edmund Rice College’s recently opened Creative Arts Centre. Named Waruga House after the water dragons that inhabit the nearby creek, the building is a significant addition to the developing Arts Precinct at the College complementing the nearby Music Rooms that we completed in 2015. Given a recent world economic forum statement that creativity is one of the key driving skills required by students in their future working lives, the project is an important addition to the campus.

The external and internals of the Creative Arts Centre.

Arts Precinct Site Plan.

The project involved the challenge of converting an existing monastery, planned for cellular monastic life, to a 21st century Creative Arts Centre. The brief required two art rooms, a technology workshop and a general learning area. Spaces ranging from 70sqm to 100sqm with specialised layout and building services resulted in significant modifications to the existing internal structure with removal of the majority of internal walls.

Apart from the successful adaptive reuse of an existing building (saving both money for the client and the environmental cost of demolition) one of the most satisfying elements of the project is to see the connections formed between the existing campus and the new Arts Precinct. As the original monastery is on the edge of the College, simple linking strategies using landscaping, pathways and a new footbridge draw the new facility into the school. The existing chapel sitting between the Arts Centre and existing College is now closer to the geographical centre of the campus. Appropriate, given its importance as the spiritual heart of the school.

We are proud to have worked with Edmund Rice College to create Waruga House for future generations of artists.


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