Sydney's first multi-storey school development constructed with engineered timber

The Our Lady of the Assumption School in North Strathfield utilises an existing three-storey concrete frame base built in the 1970s (previously the Telstra Training Centre) and delivers four levels of flexible learning spaces and facilities, constructed using Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and glulam post and beam structure.


Committed to cutting-edge materials and technologies, the design team were eager to implement the innovative multi-level engineered timber system for the project. Associated time efficiencies and minimisation of on-site labour was another driver for the use of prefabricated mass timber construction technology. First designs were completed in 2014, so the introduction of the new timber structure system to Australia required extensive research, material investigations and collaboration with mass timber experts.

TTW Advance produced finite element models of the CLT stairs. The models were used to predict the stairs' response to loads for both strength and deflections. The directional ("orthotropic") nature of the layered CLT treads and side walls had to be considered carefully in the analysis.

Catering for 450 students, the development showcases the best sustainability practices, with a focus on natural ventilation and high-performance timber products. Movable screens and joinery allows for a multitude of teaching configurations, and large bi-fold doors open to the timber deck, bringing the outside and inside together to create an inspiring learning environment.

Client: Sydney Catholic Education

Architect: BVN

Builder: Stephen Edwards Construction

Value: $18M

Completion: 2018

Sector: School & Colleges

Services: Timber, TTW Advance, Structural


  • IDEA: Winner Sustainability
  • IDEA: Winner Institutional
  • AIA National Awards: Daryl Jackson Award for Education
  • AIA National Awards: Sustainability Award
  • Master Builder Award: Winner Excellence in best use of timber
  • Master Builder Award: Winner Private Schools ($15-$25M)
  • Excellence in Timber Design, Public Building – Australian Timber Design Award
  • Sustainability Awards: Winner Best adaptive Reuse
  • Sustainability Awards: Winner Prefab & Modular
  • Sustainability Awards: Commendation Education and research
  • NSW ARCHITECTURE AWARDS - Educational Architecture Winner
  • NSW ARCHITECTURE AWARDS - Milo Dunphy Award for Sustainable Architecture
  • A4LE Educational Facilities Award - Winner in renovation category over $2M


  • NSW ARCHITECTURE AWARDS - Educational Architecture Commendation
  • AUSTRALIAN INTERIOR DESIGN AWARDS - Best of State Commercial Design
  • AUSTRALIAN INTERIOR DESIGN AWARDS - National Award Public Design
  • A4LE Educational Facilities Award - Winner in renovation category over $2M
  • A4LE International Lee J Brockway Award for Renovation / Addition
  • IDA Interior Design Impact Award