Ascham School

Ascham School, in Edgecliff Sydney, has been providing high quality education for day and boarding female students since 1886. With design services from Smith + Tracey Architects, the School have recently completed the major refurbishment of their dining facilities to support 1250 students. The works were successfully delivered on a challenging live site under a rapid twelve week construction program.

The dining and kitchen upgrade creates a new service provision from breakfast to evening dinner, with a range of food from sit down to ‘grab ‘n go’. The design developed from a detailed study of patron movement and analysis of different food offerings, to inform free flowing service points creating an enhanced dining experience for students, staff and visitors.

The large open volume incorporates the previously semi-outdoor veranda expressing material warmth that starts at the entry and continues through the space like a ribbon binding the exterior and interior spaces together. The overall palette of materials, colour, fittings and furniture achieves a quality environment, complimented by a state of the art kitchen refit.

The design captured the values of the school providing a sophisticated and yet homely environment that reflects the strong bond between students and staff, especially for the boarders living away from home. Large sliding doors give the dining space the feeling of openness; with a veranda quality that reveals the School’s ‘heart’ beyond, engaging with the adjacent heritage buildings, feature fig trees and distant views to Sydney’s harbour. 

Mounted on an internal wall is a timeless image of senior students feasting at a large dining table together. The image emulates and is a modern interpretation of The Last Supper and reinforces the importance of food and togetherness for the girls at Ascham.  

The School’s engaging feedback process has confirmed the project is a resounding success.