A critical element in phase 2 of Elevation Architecture’s masterplan for St Patrick’s College, the new canteen and eating / gathering area has immediately become the new central hub of the school. When we began the masterplanning process, the school acknowledged that the tuckshop needed improvement. It was outdated, hidden away and even with a staggered lunch break the queue was unsustainable. But instead of upgrading it, Elevation Architecture proposed that it be shifted altogether. On an extremely tight school site with an overarching need for additional GLA’s, we took a creative approach by finding and adapting under-utilised space.
Now, St Patrick’s college boasts a large-scale commercial kitchen and self-service café slotted beneath an existing classroom. The café opens out into a generous eating / gathering covered deck space that is built over two existing water tanks. On one side the deck borders the existing main entry plaza, and its simple roof form and neutral palette recede against the adjacent heritage-listed original school building. On the other side, the deck incorporates stepped ‘grandstand’ seating as a nod to the boys’ lunch-time handball tournaments.
The old tuckshop site has been converted into two much-needed GLA’s. The boys no longer have a staggered lunch break as the new café can facilitate all students at the same time; and when the boys are back in their classes, the non-class staff take over the café and treat it as their own.