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Blessing of the Potter Building – All Hallows’ School, Brisbane

Words by: Erin Dawson, Interior Designer | Images: Paul Sekava

Last Thursday a team from Fulton Trotter Architects joined the All Hallows’ School community, on the land of Jagera and Turrbal people, for the blessing of the newly opened Potter Building.

The afternoon commenced with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony, followed by a chapel service and blessing of the building.

The Potter Building is an adaptive re-use project that consists of significant alterations and additions to an existing building. The original 1972 building was extended in 1978 and renovated in 1998 and 2014.

Potter Building
Potter Building

After extensive consultation with various All Hallows’ School stakeholders, senior leadership, staff and students, Fulton Trotter Architects designed a building to meet the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the school’s brief.

The Potter Building weaves together the aspirations of a dynamic and progressive educational institution, teaching in the Mercy tradition in the 21st Century. Whilst technological innovation continues to drive aspects of pedagogical development, the All Hallows’ ethos and Sisters of Mercy teachings remain at the core of everything the school does.

Kane Constructions were engaged to realise the immense vision of the Potter Building. Despite being faced with the challenges of a live, inner-city site, a global pandemic, and materials and skills shortage, Kane worked with resilience and professionalism and achieved a result that surpassed the expectations of the school.

Due to the unique extension wedged between two existing buildings on a constricted site, cross-laminated timber (CLT) was used to construct all new floor area. The project also benefited from the lightweight quality, speed of construction and sustainability credentials. It is the first CLT education building in Queensland.

The re-imagined Potter Building houses junior and senior library, maker spaces, a senior study space, IT support services, sports staff, careers services, teaching and collaborative spaces, staff offices, as well as a roof top function area.

In the Mercy tradition, All Hallows’ School educates girls and young women to be aware of existence beyond the immediate school campus. The Potter Building is the place for students to observe and have agency within the local and global community, empowered with knowledge and driven by empathy and compassion to serve, and make a difference in the world.

On the occasion of the opening last Thursday, Sr Catherine Reuter rsm, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Mercy Brisbane, said that a blessing ‘enables us to open our ears, eyes and hearts to the ways in which the sacred inhabits the ordinary.’

The blessing of the Potter Building recognised the history of the indigenous land and Sisters of Mercy, and celebrated the future of the students who will build upon this legacy.