Brisbane State High School

Project Details


Corner of Glenelg & Merivale Streets, South Brisbane QLD 4101

Graham Legerton


Project Overview

Adding 1000 pupils to an inner city live school site presents challenges and opportunities.  Designed with students, the Kurilpa Building surpassed expectations with a culturally aligned response.  The criticality of collaborative teaching and learning places, connectedness, future proofing, outreach, preservation and enhancement of heritage assets, diversity and community is embraced.

The Kurilpa Building represents a major redevelopment project that was conceived and designed collaboratively to accommodate significant growth and to address considerable site infrastructure challenges.

The building accommodates extensive teaching and learning settings, a collocated staff zone and collaborative ‘cornerstone’ learning areas that address Musgrave Park and the City respectively. The building form floats above an integrated plaza creating critical covered and uncovered outdoor learning space that is protected from the busy City streets adjacent.

Above, a feature arts terrace unites the school with Brisbane’s culturally significant Southbank Precinct generating opportunities for teaching and learning, cultural engagement, events and partnering. This is a differentiating space that maximises connectivity with the wider community.

In addition to the main new building, the project included refurbishment of the heritage listed H-Block and extensive enhancements to the overall connectivity and legibility of the campus. Further challenges included transformation of parking provisions, building during the G20 Summit and retaining live school operations during such a major demolition, decanting and new build program.

The project attracted the attention of the media from the outset as this is a major government investment and alternative school mergers had been the topic of considerable prior debate.

The outcome has been enriched by extensive student, staff and community design collaborations during this and related projects. The Kurilpa reference being culturally significant to this site and the topic of a related Arts study elective where students designed their owned Kurilpa Pavilion in collaboration with Fiona Foley and the Thomsonadsett team. The winning student Pavilion has been further developed by the team and will be built when funding enables. Similar community engagement was achieved during the Masterplan stage where students presented their ideas back to the Building and Development Committee and contributed to the ideas creation process.

The largest DET project in Queensland has been successfully integrated into this inner city locale and sensitive site. The building is inherently flexible and illustrates how increasingly vertical schools can free-up space for socially significant landscapes and courtyards whilst generating dramatic learning roof scapes that truly engage the school with this precinct.

This page last updated: Tuesday 24 May 2016

2016 Category 2 New Construction Major Facility