St Rita’s Trinity Centre

Brisbane, Australia

m3architecture has recently completed the Trinity Centre at St Rita's College Brisbane.

The project is part of the necessary densification and re-vitalisation of the south precinct of the school’s site uncovered in m3architecture’s 2017 master plan of the school. The Trinity Centre offers new connectivity and clarity to the College.

Consistent with the Master Plan, the project has realised a significant scope of work beyond the building proper, in external spaces across three levels of the school, and in connections made to its five surrounding buildings.

Like most school buildings, the Trinity Centre is a working utility, delivering much-needed classrooms, social spaces, new facilities for music and drama, and an auditorium. However, the project always aspired to more.

St Rita’s is the name given to the College in the 1920s by the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary who followed the traditions of Nano Nagle, whose legacy informs the internal life of the school to this day.

During the design process, quite naturally we were drawn to understand St Rita, Patron Saint of Improbable Causes. While arranging the building in a purely functional format, we came across a truly improbable moment, whereby the word RITA presented itself on the southern façade of the building. In this moment, the façade was transfigured from incoherence to complete clarity, radiant on the hillside – RITA.

This revelation inspired similar interest in the transfigure-able potential of the northern façade, where just as improbably as the south, the word ‘nano’ was revealed.

Together RITA and nano forge the outward and inward identity of the Trinity Centre respectively, directly correlating with their roles in the College more broadly.

The two names, indelible on the facades, come together in the spaces of the building, their letters defining contemporary teaching, learning and social environments.

Perhaps most importantly, the project anticipates, celebrates and stimulates the exciting and multi-faceted life of the College. Though formed by traditions, the Trinity Centre projects a contemporary idiom for today, and into the future.

Photography by Christopher Frederick Jones