Kelvin Grove State College – Flying Start Project

This Kelvin Grove State College (KGSC) building was part of the Queensland Government initiative to introduce year 7 students into state high schools for the first time in 2015. This project was a very significant addition to the KGSC campus and was seen by our practice as an opportunity to design a building that was nurturing for the new young cohort, while also integrating students with the existing school.

The site wraps around a steep terrain falling from L’Estrange Terrace on the north and an internal access road on the west. The resulting “L” shape plan is a single room thick solution that offers excellent cross ventilation and natural day lighting to all teaching spaces. Circulation is on the east and south. West and north facing windows are shaded by bold stripped external sun shading screens. This building contains 18 general learning areas (GLAs), 2 collaborative learning areas, a special education unit, a staff room, amenities, an undercroft, and a water tank farm. A bridge links the new 6-storey building to the adjacent 3-storey block to the west.

Due to our client’s concerns about a tight time frame, budget and difficult site, we promoted a fully precast concrete solution. Floor beams, planks, columns and core walls were all precast off site. This enabled the structure to be erected quickly with installation of lightweight infill walls. External walls and roofs are Colorbond metal, while areas that can be maintained from floor level are clad in painted compressed fibre cement. Selected precast panels incorporated ‘firecracker’ red coloured concrete to articulate the façade. Precast blade columns provided additional elevational relief and rhythm. Our objective was to provide a new facility that would have low maintenance costs as state schools have limited maintenance budgets.


The curved brick entry façade is a reference to the curved façade of the 1950’s Administration building (200 metres east along L’Estrange Terrace) and the red and cream colours compliment the existing palette in the campus.

The design is sympathetic to the existing campus while expressing KGSC as a modern and progressive college. The building is excellent value for money, environmentally sustainable, and provides an asset to the school and local community. We enjoy working with our education sector clients to produce solutions that support the teaching philosophy and site constraints of each school.

Architectural Team | Robert Biscoe, Marion Wilson, Winson Leung, Joelie Vinall-Clark, Graham Anderson, Anita James

Builder | Hutchinson Builders

Structural Engineer | Farr Engineers

Photographer | Anne Langdon Photography

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