Mount Alvernia College Community Garden

Design Feature
Type of Project
Landowner Initiative
State
Queensland
Location
Urban

Mount Alvernia College is a small Catholic secondary girls’ school in Brisbane, operated by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. After being commissioned to complete the College’s masterplan in 2011, m3architecture proposed a school based around three gardens; a community garden, a garden for gathering and a recreation garden. 

The precinct now consists of Mount Alvernia College’s La Verna Building, Anthony Building and La Foresta Garden, all of which were designed by m3architecture. Stage 1 – La Verna was completed in January 2014, and Stage 2 – Anthony and La Foresta was completed in January 2015.

Fruitful learning

The Mount Alvernia College Community Garden provides staff and students with an ornamental and edible kitchen garden, new home economics facility and an Italian-inspired canteen and café. Future projects for the school include redeveloping and refurbishing original buildings as required to cater for growth in the school's population.

Mount Alvernia College is a small Catholic secondary girls’ school in Brisbane, operated by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.
Mount Alvernia College is a small Catholic secondary girls’ school in Brisbane, operated by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.

The project design reflects the school’s Franciscan history, St Francis’ love of the natural world (as patron saint of flora and fauna) and emphasises the importance of the relationship between humankind and nature. Preserving visual reminders of heritage and a strong cultural identity help to create a sense of place.

The main social space sits adjacent to the school cafeteria, ‘La Cucina’, and faces north into the garden.

‘La Cucina’
‘La Cucina’

It is a modern purpose-built facility providing healthy, fresh meals for students, staff and visitors to the College. Conceived as an oversized floating picnic rug, the building features an active ground floor that encourages pedestrian activity and is broken up by columns that create spaces within the whole. The buildings themselves structure the garden, resulting in a sympathetic relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces.

The community garden, located as the public face of Mount Alvernia College, is substantially fruitful and acts as a place of learning, flanked by science labs, home economics spaces and General Learning Areas (GLAs). The productive garden is named La Foresta after the site in the Italian Rieti Valley where St Francis once sought sanctuary. This edible landscape forms an attractive community focal point for students to connect around the subject of healthy food.  A large proportion of the curriculum is intended to be based around the garden and the education on healthy food it can offer.

Students spend most daylight hours at school so it’s important that the school's design has a positive impact on the student’s health and wellbeing. At Mt Alvernia College, a positive impact was achieved through the provision of 20 new classrooms, six laboratories, three home economics spaces, commercial kitchen and cafeteria, administration, a prayer space, a roof terrace, and the community garden.

Project Team

  • m3architecture
  • Lat27
  • Bligh Tanner
  • Mount Alvernia College

Project Cost

  • Not available

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