This project grew from the client’s desire to explore options for the extension of an existing child care training facility to house new administrative offices and a toy library. The building that evolved was derived from an overlay of tight site constraints, complex and specific briefing requirements, the need for strict cost controls on a limited budget, and the desire for an expressive architecture befitting both the buildings civic role and its associations with children and child welfare.

2006              Royal Australian Institute of Architects
                     Public Buildings - New and Recycled Award


“This building demonstrates that excellent architecture is not related to the scale of the building or the size of the budget. The simplicity of form defies the complexity of the issues, and masks the brilliance of its resolution. Despite its modest appearance, this is a serious work that demonstrates how architecture is 'played'. This project is an example of extravagance of thought and ideas, not expenditure.

When measured against all the judging criteria, this building exemplifies a comprehensive thoughtfulness. The jury marvelled at how the architects respect for others underpinned all design decisions.

The architects challenged the apparently irreconcilable constraints of the brief, including the pre-suppositions of siting, and even the site itself. Through a process of negotiations with the local authority who owned the site and the existing building, and community consultation with the neighbours and others, the architects were pivotal in finding a creative lateral solution.

The building is deceptively small, and the architects stated desire to give a civic presence to a domestic scale building works well - the long fa├žade presented to the public approach is maximised by its diagonal alignment. The graphic use of colour and shape is a multi-layered message to all users - a symbol of structured form, a sign of welcome and entry, and a playful game of stacking blocks. Something for everyone, regardless of access, authority, or age.”
Images: Ray Joyce