Whispering House

The site is located within the heritage setting of the Protected Structures of St. Columba’s College.

The brief was to create a central social hub for the students, staff and visitors of St. Columba’s College on the site of an former outbuilding, with poor quality classroom constructed in mid 20th Century at first floor.

The outbuilding was constructed, at approximately 3m below the level of the historic walled garden, outside and against the part retaining surviving boundary wall.




The Fellows of St. Columba’s College


Architectural, PSDP, Assigned Certifier




Completed, October 2019

Project Overview

The design, informed by a detailed heritage report, assessment of significance and impact assessment, is a part single and part two storey building replacing the existing structures.

At first floor, the stone boundary wall is punctured with new openings linking through to a new pavilion set within the walled garden, reflective of long-lost glasshouses.

The two-story block, with an entrance, toilets and boiler house on lower ground floor includes a servery on first floor which adjoins the south facing garden pavilion providing a large interconnected social space for both informal and formal events.

The building forms part of the informal circulation routes inter weaving between and through buildings on the campus.

The entrance at lower level leads to the accommodation stairs rising to the social space on first floor and on to the walled garden and associated pedestrian routes.

The design of this new school building was inspired by the notion that learning is a journey, and we aimed to create a space that both supports and inspires students on that journey. From the fluid curves of the architecture to the bright, open interior spaces, every element of this building was carefully crafted to promote creativity, collaboration, and innovation among its young occupants.

Ruth McParlandAssociate