The new St Cyprian’s Multi-Purpose Hall and Aquatic Centre
For their 150th anniversary, St Cyprian’s School commissioned Meyer & Associates to further develop the school campus, adding two new facilities – an Aquatic Centre and a Multi-Purpose Hall. Due to the limited size of the school grounds within an urban setting, the two facilities were combined into a single, more compact building to reduce the overall footprint and impact on the historical campus. Combined into one building, the new facilities were sensitively positioned on old tennis courts, along a new drop-off area to the West of the campus in Oranjezicht.
The campus context comprises of highly significant heritage red brick, sandstone, and red roof tiled buildings, all framed by large historical cork oak trees. The new building is partially submerged into the ground, against a slope, to reduce its scale and massing of nearly six storeys in height. All existing trees were retained up against the building footprint which provided the space with an immediate leafy setting after construction. The building accommodates an indoor pool below and a multi-purpose sports hall suspended above. Natural light is scooped into the lower pool area by large rooflights and large glass façades on the ground level.
Covering its significant mass, the building is clothed in a red brick flat arched colonnade, common throughout the school, to provide a human scale and tie the building into the rest of the campus by framing the public spaces around it. Despite its size, the building acts as a background within the campus environment, and the architectural treatment of the building aims to present a sensitive, well-crafted design solution. The project illustrates how inventive design solutions, when achieved in a sensitive way, can contribute to a meaningful intervention in heritage contexts.