PTW architects: sydney grammar school assembly hall
PTW architects: sydney grammar school assembly hall
jan 13, 2012

PTW architects: sydney grammar school assembly hall

‘sydney grammar school assembly hall’ by PTW, sydney, australia image courtesy of michael yip all images courtesy PTW




australian firm PTW architects has completed the ‘sydney grammar school assembly hall’, a subterranean recital hall capable of seating 1500 people in sydney, australia. placed within the heart of a school complex, the venue hosts concerts and assemblies as well as facilitating interior and exterior circulation. the natural bedrock was carved to form the internal walls which become the auditorium’s focal element. the space provides functional amenities with acoustical benefits for a variety of musical performances, and ideal sight lines from the seating arrangement which wraps the perimeter. generated high reverberation time is conducive to large scale 19th and 20th century orchestras and speech audibility is ideal for assemblies. the facility is capable of high quality video recording and projection.


the constrained site led to a top down construction method, excavating below the existing playground spaces without interfering with the children’s daily activities. a large flat area was maintained at the lowest level of the stepped seating to support examinations and a regulation sized basketball court.

PTW architects: sydney grammar school assembly hall recital hall image courtesy of michael yip

PTW architects: sydney grammar school assembly hall stage image © brian steele architectural photography

PTW architects: sydney grammar school assembly hall aerial view image © brian steele architectural photography

PTW architects: sydney grammar school assembly hall excavation and construction

PTW architects: sydney grammar school assembly hall rendering

PTW architects: sydney grammar school assembly hall site plan

PTW architects: sydney grammar school assembly hall floor plan / level 0

PTW architects: sydney grammar school assembly hall section

PTW architects: sydney grammar school assembly hall construction sketch



project info:


design director: andrew andersons design associate: troy uleman project architect: sara best


landscape architect: context specialist lighting: steensen varming cost planner / quantity surveyor: wt partnership structural engineer: taylor thompson whitting mechanical engineer: steensen varming electrical & data engineer: steensen varming lift services: steensen varming fire services: gdk hydraulics hydraulics consultant: gdk hydraulics fire safety engineering: grubits associates acoustics consultant: acoustic studio theatre consultant: rtmi international access consultant: morris goding accessibility consulting bca consultant: steve watson and partners construction consultant: baseline constructions heritage: nbrs & partners archaeology: cultural resources management geotechnical: douglas partners


construction manager: southern cross projects project manager: morgan moore and associates

  • I don’t usually comment on something if i don’t like it following the ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all’ approach but… this seems like a missed opportunity.

    The best thing about this project is the existing sandstone wall, the palette of materials especially the timber is terrible (dare I say PoMo) and the structural beams are really inelegant. I think the pencil drawing labelled rendering shows that PTW or at least the team who worked on this are stuck in the 1980’s.

    Sorry that’s how i feel and i wanted to say it somewhere.

    Simon says:
  • @Simon you should probably stick to your mantra, it shows a human quality to the employees to have rendered with watercolor. More firms should revert back to a classic rendering style instead of creating space age drawings.

    This project is clearly an exercise in using what is already given by nature instead of being heavy handed and wiping the “slate” clean…..pun intended.

    Sorry Simon says:
  • You’re probably right about sticking to my mantra, and i totally agree with your point about renders vs drawings, i just don’t think this one is very good.

    I always think it’s a sign that architects haven’t achieved what they wanted with a project when, they present some perspectives/renders once the project is finished.

    Simon says:

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