On 2 December 2022, Loreto Kirribilli’s new centre for innovation, Spiritus, was blessed by Bishop Terence Brady and Sr Wendy Hildebrand ibvm and officially opened by Ms Sheila McGregor, Loreto Kirribilli Board Chair. The seven-storey building incorporates a range of dynamic, versatile learning spaces and workshops, expanded sports and fitness facilities, outdoor learning spaces and accessible walkways providing important connections with the rest of the school.
An innovative learning space
Spiritus responds to three driving forces in education. Firstly, the world is changing, and today’s graduates require certain skills and capabilities to flourish and emerge as confident young women, willing and able to lead with others and design their future. The flexible, open collaboration spaces and studios in Spiritus are designed to foster learners who are excellent communicators and collaborators, creative and critical thinkers with an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset.
Secondly, education is also rapidly changing. The learning spaces required for today and tomorrow are agile, with the space, flexibility and freedom that will inspire students to create new knowledge and shape their world, regardless of their interests and the path they choose. This future-focused facility builds on a collective understanding of global trends to ensure Loreto Kirribilli remains at the forefront of education.
Thirdly, it is well-recognised that student well-being is one of the most important factors for successful learning. All students from Kindergarten to Year 12 will benefit from Spiritus, with the architects’ design paying special attention to connectivity, fresh air, daylight-spectrum lighting and materials selection. The expansive Ground Floor space is focused on health and well-being with an expanded gymnasium and state-of-the-art fitness centre.
Collaboration and consultation
Spiritus was designed by Francis-Jones Morehen and Thorp, the international award-winning architectural firm. FJMT has a reputation not only for designing beautiful contemporary spaces but also for their collaborative methods and thoughtful response to the history and culture of the site. FJMT worked very closely with the school to develop the 50-year Master Plan and then the detailed plans for the building itself so that the design reflected the way the school wanted learning and teaching to evolve.
In accordance with the school’s commitment to environmental sustainability, the design and construction of Spiritus is informed by green principles, from the sun-efficient design of the façade to the futureproofed flexible design of its interiors, with energy-efficient lighting, innovative mechanically-assisted natural ventilation air circulation, and rainwater collection and reuse. These green principles are now incorporated into the school’s Master Plan for future projects.
Loreto Kirribilli’s Principal, Mrs Anna Dickinson, explained,
“The rapid pace of change and the emergence of new technologies have transformed the way students learn, making today such an exciting time for the education of young people. Our beautiful new Spiritus building is the first stage of our 50-year Master Plan for Loreto Kirribilli, which calls for dynamic, versatile learning spaces designed to foster collaboration, creative and critical thinking, communication and enhanced transdisciplinary learning experiences. We look forward to the wonderful learning which will take place in Spiritus over the many years to come.”
Author: Phillipa Nolan, Content Editor, Loreto Kirribilli
Feature Image: Loreto Kirribilli students exploring the new Spiritus Building