Created to meet the maturing learning needs of Year 11 and 12 students as they transition from school to the independent world of university, the Knox Senior Students Academy, designed by architects JSA Studio, was completed and occupied in mid 2015.

It houses the Seniors Hall, a 150-seat lecture theatre, science labs, classrooms and the Senior Student Library and Research Centre – the latter an instant success, requiring the school to hire more security staff so that library hours could be extended on school days from 7 in the morning through to 9 in the evening.

Knox Grammar’s Chief Operating Office Natalie Cook said: “it’s been brilliant; up to 60 students can be in the library at any one time without the space feeling crowded. We have, almost, to turn off the lights to get them to go home at the end of the day.”

The library was designed and furnished by Abel Kingfisher in conjunction with the school’s interiors consultant and features a striking mosaic at the entrance. The $460,000 12-month project progressed in parallel with the building’s construction and culminated with fit-out and furniture installation over three weeks. 80 per cent of the bookshelves, circulation desks, study pods and benches were sourced from local manufacturers.

Cylindrical columns finished in lime, aqua, orange, yellow purple, each with a set of four up/down lights, support the two-level ceiling in the collaboration area. The colour palette is repeated on the square columns in the individual study area and on the chairs, sofas, stools and benches.

Keeping the possibility in mind of the library evolving over time, the furniture is easy to move and wheeled decorative opaque glass screens have been used to define areas without blocking off the light.

“The library is used intensively and, though the seniors have matured beyond rough housing, energetic young men can be hard on furniture, so ‘fit for purpose’ dictates that the furniture is robust and the fabrics and upholstery foam will stand up to 10 years or more of heavy duty work,” Abax MD Damian Moore said.

Natalie Cole adds: “The kids love the library, it’s been a very happy outcome for the school.”