St Ambrose Community Centre

Transforming a disused school building

“Ben engaged with our community to understand our needs, then designed the transformation of the disused school building into a modern, welcoming and warm facility that enriches the parish of St Ambrose and the broader Brunswick community.”
– Fr Michael Casey, St Ambrose, Brunswick

The St. Ambrose Community Centre is the transformation of an existing disused school building into a multi-purpose community facility on Sydney Road in Brunswick.

The brief requested demolition of some classrooms to create a forecourt with street presence. We convinced the clients to keep all rooms but instead proposed one intervention through the provision of a new entry on the north side of the building, ironically where the school toilets had originally been.

This new entry location allowed flow of parishioners from the church into the new reception rooms for social gatherings after ceremonies.

Importantly it also creates a street presence on Sydney Road to signify the openness of the church building to the broader community outside of the church parish.

The raking up of the new roof over this new entry signifies the welcome of visitors, facilitates passive solar gain and is a physical gesture towards the spire of the church.

Photography: Emma Cross