Responding to its site topography, the masonry and lightweight structures of Oxford Falls Grammar School Sports Centre express a spirit of quarry and cave.

On the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Oxford Falls Grammar is a co-educational Christian school for students K-12. The site for this sports centre is bisected by a bushland creek, offering a unique opportunity to incorporate a narrative of place

The brief called for a new natural turf playing field and running track and athletics facilities, plus two basketball courts, a fitness centre, teaching rooms and associated amenities, with car parking underneath. As the first school building west of the creek, it opens itself to the creek and integrates bridge connections back to the eastern main campus. 

Key to the architectural response was resolving the site’s technical requirements such as bushfire rating, flood lines, ecological and geotechnical considerations. The use of a lightweight fabric roof over the basketball courts delivered a poetic form economically.  

Conceptually, the building program is organised around a central outdoor space, the protected ‘hearth’ and soul of the centre. The creek-facing building edge bounds the hearth and mirrors its eroded softness with generous curved balconies off the classrooms. They provide both main access paths throughout the building and serve as informal gathering spaces outside of class time.  

By contrast, facades to the public domain are crisp and minimal. The building reads as a strong orthogonal form from the street, with carefully designed perforated shading louvres minimising solar heat gain internally, and transforming the facade externally with changing shadow patterns. 

Inherently sustainable, the building is designed for year-round thermal comfort, low running costs, energy consumption and maintenance to age well and stand the test of time, while thoughtfully connecting to nature. 

Project Facts


Carigal, Cammeraigal, Gayimai Country , Oxford Falls, NSW


Oxford Falls Grammar School






3,500 m²


Michael Anderson

Key Contacts

John Whittingham
Director  View profile