World-class multilevel building designed to seamlessly link to existing structures

This major development for Wenona School was designed as a new multi-level structure that seamlessly ties into the existing school complex. The innovative "university-style" building incorporates science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning areas; laboratories and food technology kitchens; flexible study areas; and a sports science hub. One of the project's main features is a basement aquatic centre with a 25-metre main pool and a 15-metre learn-to-swim pool. Despite the design complexities, the school remained operational throughout construction.

TTW Engineers developed an innovative solution to incorporate the long spans over the pools and to allow the new floors to match the surrounding linked building levels without the requirement for ramps or steps. This resulted in suspending the intermediate floors from steel hangers attached to long-span roof beams above to minimise the structural floor thicknesses. These roof beams were then supported on columns which transferred their loads out over the pool by sculptured concrete portal frames.

The development includes many other structural features such as; large glass skylights allowing natural light into the basement pool areas below, a cantilevered concrete scissor stair, and extensive shoring and underpinning works to prevent the undermining of the surrounding buildings. Additionally, the integration of the 20-metre long pedestrian link bridge into the adjacent building whilst keeping the school operational showcases the unique complexity of the engineering.

Client: Wenona School

Architect: Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects (TZG)

Builder: Kane Constructions

Value: $45M

Completion: 2020

Sector: School & Colleges, Sports & Leisure

Services: Structural, Civil, Facade


  • Master Builders Association Award for Private Schools, The Athenaeum Wenona School, 2022.
  • Master Builders Association Merit for Best Use of Concrete, The Athenaeum Wenona School, 2022.
  • The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design - International Architecture Award, The Athenaeum  Wenona School, 2021.
  • AIA NSW Architecture Awards; Commendation in Education Architecture - The Athenaeum Wenona School, 2021.