Sydney Blythe Award for Educational Architecture 2023
We are honoured to be awarded the Sydney Blythe Award for Educational Architecture at the 2023 Tasmanian Architecture Awards for Holy Rosary Catholic School.
“Holy Rosary is a delightful calibration of a hard-working primary school environment.
An intuitive masterplan process ran concurrently with overlapping design and construction demands. Every architectural decision seeks to benefit the teacher, the students, the school community, and the site. The variety of internal to external connections act to strengthen teaching and learning possibilities. The persistent agility of the new works continually generates the possibility of engagement with the broader realm of the school and the community.
The experience of the neighbourhood of Claremont is backgrounded by a feeling of deep connection and celebration of the creek, the streetscape, and the hills and mountain beyond. The outcome of years of effort, this humble project is an extraordinary example of Tasmanian architects operating with economy, agility and care.“
Built by Maverick Building and designed with Playstreet, Aldanmark and CES.
Thank you to all our team Shamus Mulcahy, Sophie Bence, Bek Verrier, Hannah Webber, Johnny Mckenzie, Emily Hunt and to Mike Renshaw.
A shout out to Adam Gibson who worked his magic behind the lens around the chaos of a primary school in full swing!
James Blackburn Triennial Prize
Our Ryde Street House has won the James Blackburn Triennial Prize at the 2023 Tasmanian Architecture Awards. We’re thrilled that this modest and economical project has been awarded.
“The Triennial Prize is a peculiar Tasmanian tradition that came about because our small island state lacked a certain volume of architectural projects each year to warrant an annual prize. Recently, the Tasmanian Chapter chose to retain the prize, and in honour of its humble origin, we award this year’s Triennial Residential Award to Bence Mulcahy for their Ryde Street House.
The project improves a house for a family and demonstrates that good design is not flashy but, rather, sensitive and sensible.
Details and joinery provide moments of pleasure within rooms which are just enough. Amid a climate change and housing affordability crisis, these architects have struck a hopeful note in the Tasmanian architectural tradition, regarding the very real and tangible benefits of modesty as a virtue.”
Built by Thylacine Constructions, photo by Adam Gibson
Cambridge Primary School, Major Redevelopment
The design for the Cambridge Primary School Major Redevelopment responds to the school’s positive culture where all students have a sense of belonging and agency, and where physical activity, outdoor play and being ‘in the bush’ is highly valued.
The project includes a new building, with four GLAs, an extension to the existing kindergarten with an additional learning space, relocation of the library, expansion of the existing canteen, new outdoor covered areas and associated landscaping.
The new built elements improve the experience of the landscape, and connect students directly to the surrounding bush and rivulet.
New and refurbished classrooms open to wide verandas for outdoor undercover learning, and playful elements such as the roof “pops” capture light and sky views while tree-top decks become points to survey the schoolyard and broader landscape.
New built elements extend existing buildings and consolidate existing site patterns. New buildings are brick, gabled and sympathetic to existing typologies. Internally they are warm and light, domestic styled interiors.
The approach to new landscape is to provide a range of different zones with seamless connection to the indoors and to the bush and rivulet.
Preliminary imagery by Bence Mulcahy
The Friends’ School WN Oats Centre Redevelopment
Once the new gym “The Revel Centre” was completed the existing WN Oats centre was redeveloped as a dedicated teaching building. Located at the centre of the site, this new facility becomes
a hub for the campus’ academic life, providing contemporary learning spaces, staff offices, learning support spaces and student ammenities right in the heart of the campus.
This project strategically enhances accessibility on the campus by installing a new lift connected to the main carpark level and pedestrian bridge links to adjoining buildings on the upper level also therefore creating broader campus connections.
Images by CUUB Studio
Holy Rosary Catholic School, Prep
As the final stage (No.6) of the Holy Rosary Catholic School masterplan the new prep building enhances the school by providing much needed amenity.
Its location adjacent the existing kindergarten building creates an early years precinct and dedicated early learning play area.
The scale, form and materiality of the new pays homage to the original school buildings. The finely detailed glazing system, the warm timber joinery and delicate columns provide a more contemporary playful language and the wide verandahs provide an exaggerated depth and generosity to the building edge.
The “lazy gable” roof responds to the site conditions “flipping” up to form an entry and waiting space for parents and students.
The scope includes 2 new GLAs, a shared flexi-space with wet area, resource store, a WC, a cleaners store and an outdoor store. The verandahs along the long edges become circulation, undercover teaching spaces and play areas.
Interior spaces engage directly with the verandahs and new landscaped play area beyond.
The new proposal draws from and compliments the existing but reads as a distinct and contemporary addition.
Photos by Adam Gibson
Macquarie Point Masterplan
Bence Mulcahy were engaged by Our Place, a group representing a number of Tasmanian community organisations, to undertake a masterplan for Hobart’s Macquarie Point. The masterplan brief included a strong focus on indigenous reconciliation and an emphasis on housing.
The Macquarie Masterplan includes 1000 new homes in a number of configurations and tenure types. It proposes space for the relocation of a number of significant public institutions as anchor tenants, including the Australian Antarctic Program Headquarters and the State Library of Tasmania.
The centrepiece of the masterplan is a nationally significant Truth and Reconciliation Park and Indigenous Cultural Centre.
An emphasis on natural features enhance and make connections to the site’s place in the wider landscape, while research and mapping of the site’s pre-colonial history is a key driver for the masterplan.
The masterplan proposes an urban renewal project which provides answers for Hobart’s needs and addresses its many issues. It is about hope and pride, truth and the future. It’s about our place.
Image Bence Mulcahy
The Friends’ School Revell Sports Centre
The Revell Centre, a state-of-the-art sports facility for the Friends’ School, is the first project resulting from our masterplan for the school (link to masterplan page).
The sports centre, which also includes teaching spaces, staff offices and other amenities, improves site accessibility by connecting with existing buildings at multiple levels using lifts and bridge walkways.
Developing a new sports facility also allows the school to convert the former WN Oats gym, located at the heart of the school’s campus, into flexible, contemporary teaching spaces (link to Oats page).
Our work for Friends’ is guided by the school’s distinctive ethos and desire to create outstanding facilities that benefit the whole school community. The Revell Sports Centre and redevelopment of the WN Oats Centre contribute to this goal by significantly improving equity of access at the school.
Images by CUUB Studio
Wentworth Street Alteration and Addition
The Wentworth Street house is brick with a terracotta tiled gable roof, built in the 1940s. Its asymmetrical form, informal details and colour-washed brickwork point to inter-war Mediterranean style architecture.
The clients’ brief was to open up the home’s dark internal spaces and allow them to make the most of the beautiful, established gardens.
Our timber and brick addition takes its cues from the home’s existing lean-to. A new sunroom and deck expands the existing north-facing living room, while generous, landscaped steps connect the house to the new outdoor living space and winding garden paths. A slot window and skylight delineates old from new and lights the original building.
Photos Adam Gibson
Holy Rosary Learning Spaces and Canteen
Holy Rosary Catholic School, established in 1961, values its strong connections with the local community and vibrant school culture.
An assessment of the school identified the need for larger, contemporary learning spaces, improved student amenities and flexible spaces for social and community programs.
Our additions stay true to the school’s existing low-level, red-brick buildings with domestic-scale awnings and decks, and their location reinforces the importance of the school’s central courtyard. The new transparent shared spaces, amenities pods and pop-up sun collectors are a playful addition to the campus.
Photos Adam Gibson
Ryde Street House is an addition to a workers’ cottage in North Hobart and is a fine-drawn example of urban densification.
After living in the house for 15 years, with a growing family, the owners’ choice was to adapt or move.
The brief was for a larger living area, additional bedroom, bathroom and connection to the garden.
The cottage was extended to create a new two-storey addition which fits under the existing roof-line with minimal impact on its neighbours.
Moving through the house, the front two bedrooms remain untouched. A new landing serves the bathroom and connects up and down. Upstairs, a library, study, ensuite and bedroom is accommodated in the roof space and downstairs, the living, kitchen and dining opens directly to the garden.
Voids connect upper and lower levels bringing in light and making playful connections.
The red colour palette plays homage to the dominant colour of Hobart’s inner city suburbs.
This project is an example of social sustainability and enables the family to continue to live and grow in the community they love.
2020 Tasmanian Architecture Awards The Barry McNeill Award for Sustainable Architecture
2020 Tasmanian Architecture Awards Award for Residential Architecture Houses Alterations and Additions
2020 Houses Awards Commendation House Alteration and Addition Under 200 square metres
Photos by Adam Gibson
New Town Primary School Early Learning
The brief for New Town Primary School Early Learning was to bring small and outdated existing facilities up to national standards.
This involved opening up two small classrooms to create one large room and to make indoor-outdoor connections to a kinder playground.
Internally the creation of a central corridor extends the school’s circulation patterns and connects the two kinder rooms. This central space doubles as an informal breakout for children during the day and a place for parents to gather before and after school.
Externally a new verandah provides covered outdoor play, a brick terrace curves around the base of a large tree making for intimate class seating and a picket fence balloons around the playground.
This project explores the playful use of familiar domestic elements to bring joy.
Photos by Adam Gibson
Culverden, circa 1900, is a highly-crafted Italianate style house in Mount Stuart. The family’s design brief was for their home to be ‘engulfed by their garden’. Our response was to design a two-storey green-house style glass extension, with a private suite contained in a floating box.
The ‘greenhouse’ allows clear views to the family’s expansive garden, and to Hobart and the River Derwent beyond. The new living area can be opened to the terrace via sliding doors, while the parents’ private space hovers above. Floors peel back slightly revealing glimpses between the upper and lower levels, and light floods through the house.
The design provides an extension fit for contemporary living that sits respectfully beside this beautifully intact circa 1900 house.
You can read more about the project here and here.
2020 Tasmanian Architecture Awards The Henry Hunter Triennial Prize
2019 Tasmanian Architecture Awards The Roy Sharrington Smith Award for Heritage
2019 Tasmanian Architecture Awards Award for Residential Architecture Houses Alterations and Additions
2019 Tasmanian Architecture Awards Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture
2019 Houses Awards Commendation for House in a Heritage Context
Photos by Adam Gibson
Mount Stuart Greenhouse shortlisted for national award
Bence Mulcahy is thrilled the Mount Stuart Greenhouse has been shortlisted for two Australian Institute of Architects 2019 National Architecture Awards. We are excited to be on a shortlist that includes so many of our favourite architects. Click here for more information.
Tasmanian Architecture Awards 2019
Bence Mulcahy is chuffed that our Mount Stuart Greenhouse project won three awards – the Roy Sharrington Smith Award for Heritage, Award for Residential Architecture (Alterations and Additions) and COLORBOND Award for Steel Architecture. We were delighted to share the stage with our fabulous clients.
Cascade Female Factory Visitors Centre Competition 2017
Bence Mulcahy, working with Muir Architects and Lovell Chen, was short-listed to Stage 2 of a competition to design a new history and interpretation centre at the Cascades Female Factory in South Hobart.
The World Heritage listed Female Factory is Australia’s most significant historic site associated with female convicts. Today three of the site’s original five yards remain, along with the sandstone Matron’s Cottage.
Our proposed interpretation centre connects the three yards and preserves the site’s delicate archaeology by bridging the remains. Elevated garden beds define the original location of buildings.
The building is constructed from limestone tiles, selected to give a domestic touch. In keeping with the original buildings, the interior is simple and reduced. Natural light and tactile shelves help visitors navigate the site.
Holy Rosary Catholic School
Established in 1961, Holy Rosary has a long and proud history of being a community-minded school.
Bence Mulcahy’ brief was to build new contemporary teaching spaces, upgrade student ammenities, and create flexible spaces for social and community programs as well as core educational uses.
The scale, form and materiality of the new buildings pay homage to the site’s existing low-lying red brick structures, while the transparent shared spaces, new amenities pods and pop-up sun collectors are playful and contemporary.
Construction underway for Ryde Street Stage II
Bence Mulcahy and Thylacine Constructions have work underway on Stage II of this project, which involves extending the existing two-bedroom North Hobart cottage. It creates a small, efficient family home that makes the most of every square centimetre.
As part of the national Emerging Architect Tour, 2016 Tasmanian winner Bek joined the 2016 national winner Anthony Balsamo and 2017 Tasmanian winner Thomas Bailey to discuss the theme ‘Process, Perseverance, Procrastination’ and how it relates to her practice of architecture.
Bek addressed the theme through the lens of one small project, quirky visitor accommodation in Derby, Tasmania, designed for her best friend Loz, a hardcore mountain bike rider.
The project is designed around the needs of mountain bike riders, with bike storage, social dining, craft beer drinking and the ability to shed layers of mud central to the scheme.
Findlay Project highlights women in architecture
Sophie and Bek have extended their support for women in architecture with their involvement in the Findlay Project, a series of events and activities that highlight the role of women architects. It is named for Margaret Findlay, who was born in Scottsdale in 1916 and became Tasmania’s first female registered-architect. See here for more about Margaret Findlay.
Shamus and Bek involved in 2018 Architecture Awards
Shamus is thrilled to be a member of the jury for the 2018 AIA (Tasmania Chapter) Architecture Awards. It has been an exciting opportunity to travel around Tasmania with fellow jury members viewing short-listed entries. Meanwhile, Bek has been busy as co-creative director of the awards (with Liz Walsh). The winners will be announced on 7 July.
The Bence Mulcahy office was buzzing last weekend as more than 80 locals and visitors to Tasmania dropped in as part of Open House Hobart. We enjoyed chatting about people’s architectural plans and dreams over coffee and Bek’s home made meringues, while kids were kept busy with our models.
If you’d like a copy of the brochure we made for the day, which explains how we work, please give us a call or email email@example.com
Photos by Helen Norrie and Bek Verrier
This project returns a Californian bungalow to its former glory and extends it to suit the lives of the busy young family who have made it their home.
The clients’ brief is to restore the house to make the most of its original features and to create a new space for family life that offers something different to the enclosed, hunkered-down feel of the original bungalow.
Stage 1 involves repairing the existing building and tweaking its layout to make it more functional and to maximise sunlight.
Stage 2 is a new addition. We drew inspiration from the form and materials of the bungalow so that the new building has the sense of extending from the original, rather than simply adding to it. We describe the approach as “ rafting”. The new addition cantilevers over the garden to make the most of the northern aspect and, like the original, is brick with a hipped tile roof. The contrast with the original lies in how the space works for the family, rather than in its form.
Cosgrove High School ‘A Block’
This project is designed to foster school spirit at Cosgrove High School by bringing together students and staff scattered across the large site into one building.
At the heart of the project is the creation of a central hub for learning and socialising. The original double-loaded corridor is removed so that new classrooms can open both into the shared central area and the corridor. This will offer flexibility for teaching and improve flow through the building. A new kitchen will allow the shared space to be used for the school’s breakfast club and community events, and new toilets will be accessible from both inside and out. Staff offices are located around the perimeter of the building to encourage students to take ownership of the central space.
The memory of the original building lives on through the re-introduction of the old faceted roof profile in the openings that have been cut to create the central space.
Fusilier Cottage in Battery Point was built in the 1840s for Angus McLeod, a Scottish musician and soldier. McLeod taught music from his home and also made it the headquarters for his Quadrille Band, which entertained crowds of Hobartians.
Like McLeod, its new owners wish to combine business and family under the one roof. The project involves repairing the existing cottage, creating office/retail space, visitor accomodation, and designing a new extension for the family’s living area.
The bluestone and sandstone cottage is full of Georgian charm, and its generous garden which opens to the street makes it a popular local landmark. The extension supports these unique characteristics: the new building is set within the garden, is smaller in scale than the cottage, has a flat roof, and is positioned so that views of the cottage from Hamden Road and Waterloo Crescent are protected.
The facade of the new extension is designed to give the family opportunities both to remain private and to open their home to bustling Battery Point. Glass doors and timber screens can be used in various combinations to change how the cottage interacts with the street and garden.
The use of finely detailed Tasmanian timbers and a sensitive colour palette will compliment the Fusilier Cottage’s original bluestone.
Stay at Fusilier Cottage here
2022 National Architecture Awards Award for Residential Architecture Houses Alterations and Additions
2022 Tasmanian Architecture Awards Edith Emery Award for Residential Architecture Houses Alterations and Additions
2022 Tasmanian Architecture Awards Award for Heritage Architecture
2022 Houses Awards Award for House in a Heritage Context
2022 Dezeen Awards Longlist for Residential Rebirth Project
Photos by Adam Gibson
The Friends’ School Clemes Science Labs
Bence Mulcahy with H2o Architects
The Clemes Science Labs offer students state-of-the-art science facilities in an engaging and safe learning environment. The project involved refurbishing the existing laboratories and designing an extension for the lab technicians’ preparation area. Each lab has four large fume cupboards with glass sides, which allow students to conduct experiments safely and in full view of their peers and teachers. This design also means the central workspace can be kept clear of equipment and used for other activities. The ceilings have been carefully designed to maximise light and improve acoustics, contributing to a positive, enjoyable atmosphere for learning.
Photos by Christopher Wilson
Bek Verrier joins Bence Mulcahy
Bence Mulcahy is delighted to announce that Bek Verrier has joined the team. Named Tasmania’s Emerging Architect in 2016, Bek has a track-record working on award-winning projects and an irresistible enthusiasm for great design.
Design award for community hub
Bence Mulcahy was awarded joint second place in a national competition to design a community hub for Kingston. Our concept of a beach brolly propped over a ‘big-box’ reflects our desire to create a joyful space for community life. See Projects for more information and photographs.
Sophie Bence re-elected to AIA Chapter Council
Sophie Bence was delighted to be re-elected to the Australia Institute of Architects’ Tasmanian Chapter Council. Her focus continues to be on supporting women in architecture.
The Sensory, Richmond Tasmania
With Futago and Interia
The Sensory Tasmania in historic Richmond fuses retail with the unique opportunity to experience the aromas of Tasmania’s ancient rainforests, leatherwood flowers and Tasmanian devils.
The design, featuring bold graphics and Tasmanian timbers, transports people from simply shopping to experiencing Tasmania’s wild places. The delicate furniture and fittings allow some of Tasmania’s best products to speak for themselves.
Bence Mulcahy supported Futago (graphics) and Interia (architecture and design) with documentation and project management.
Photos by Adam Gibson
Kingston Community Hub Design Competition
Bence Mulcahy was thrilled to be awarded second place in a national competition to design a community hub for Kingston.
The project brief by Kingborough Council was focused on giving life and soul to Kingston’s commercial centre by transforming the former Kingston High School site into a series of indoor and outdoor spaces for public activity.
Our design, informed by public consultation, is a fun take on the ‘big box’ style retail building so popular in Kingston and sees a strong, unique building sheltered under an umbrella-style roof that reflects the town’s beachside identity.
The umbrella draws the site’s old and new buildings together to give the community a town square, engaging spaces, and a place to linger.
The concept of a beach brolly propped over a ‘big-box’ with K shaped plan reflects our desire to create a joyful space for community life.
The Friends’ School Masterplan
Bence Mulcahy with H2o Architects
This masterplan will give The Friends’ School a framework for new and improved facilities that reflect the school’s ethos and education philosophies.
The Friends’ School is a co-educational Quaker school with 1300 students in North Hobart. The masterplan will identify possible sites for new buildings and green spaces, and examine how to enhance connections between the two campuses, update classrooms and specialist facilities, provide more flexible learning and social spaces, and better manage traffic and parking.
Guiding the masterplan is the desire to develop facilities that benefit the whole Friends’ community without undermining the school’s distinctive feel. Ensuring Quaker values such as simplicity, community and environmental stewardship are reflected in the design is also at the heart of the project.
For more information, visit The Friends’ School
North Hobart house, Tasmania
This house realises the clients’ long-conceived ideas for a very particular design and layout. It is located in a small ‘no through street’ in North Hobart characterised by an eclectic mix of light industrial buildings and domestic residences.
The U-shaped building hugs the boundary on three sides in order to capitalise on a 4m boundary wall on the fourth side and create a private enclave. Interior spaces are organised around the couple’s daily routine and designed to suit their furniture.
Walls fronting the internal courtyard garden are mostly glazed to allow sun into the house, while external walls are clad in zincalume metal to suit the street’s industrial feel. A deep opening in the façade, with a finely detailed awning, forms the home’s entry and marks the building as a contemporary residence among its industrial neighbours.
Church conversion, Derby, North East Tasmania
This project converts a federation carpenter gothic church into tourist accommodation and a holiday home for a young family from Tasmania’s south. The region is increasingly popular among adventure tourists, particularly mountain bikers attracted to the Blue Derby.
The clients see themselves as custodians of the Church’s history and want to preserve as much of the building as possible. Consequently the nave and porch will simply be refurbished and used as sleeping quarters, while kitchen, dining, bathroom and storage will be housed in a new extension.
As the Church is a landmark for the local community, views of the building from the surrounding streets are carefully maintained. The new building is embedded in the ground evocative of the rock formations that pepper the hillsides, with a stretched skillion roof, referencing local building precedents. Internal elements, including a mezzanine bedroom and nook with open fire, can be easily removed if the Church’s use changes in the future.
The flexible plan with multiple sleeping and living areas, as well as outdoor shower, bike storage and bike wash, allows the Church to be enjoyed by the family alone or larger groups of tourists.