Brisbane Girls Grammar School Science Learning Centre

Brisbane, Queensland

This seven-storey building is located on the sole remaining buildable parcel of land at Brisbane Girls Grammar School.

This new building includes 16 laboratories, five classrooms, a multi-function space capable of taking whole-of-cohort examinations and an undercroft for HPE.

It is the result of the school Master Plan that conceptualises the school as a small city in its own right, in response to its CBD location, inclusive secular approach and scholarly ambitions. The result is a built-up, cusp-tertiary campus feel.

The upper four floors are dedicated to science: General Science, Biology, Physics and Chemistry. The floors incorporate ‘teachable moments in science’, most notably the funnel-like diagram of the curvature of space time (and also that of a black hole) – a scientific concept largely attributed to Einstein, which has been used to organise the centre of the building and draw people up into the sciences. This and many other ‘teachable moments’ offer a daily reminder of myriad complex scientific phenomena.

Whilst the inside of the building is based on principles of curvature we cannot perceive, the outside gives an illusion of curvature that does not exist. The inside, formed around a perfect circle, when projected onto the perfect square plan of the façade, generates a vertical logarithmic rhythm that, together with colour and detail, creates the illusion of a curved surface.

At the scale of the city, the building is conversant with the Clive Berghoffer Medical Research Institute across the Inner City Bypass.

Delivered amidst the turmoil of 2020, this is a dedication to the importance of engaging young female minds in the sciences.

Photography by Christopher Frederick Jones