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Home Consortium Early Learning Centre, Richlands

Brisbane, Queensland

The Richlands Early Learning Centre transforms the empty garden centre of a previously dormant warehouse building into a warm and welcoming child-care centre for Guardian.

The adaptive re-use of the unused building provides a highly sustainable model of development whereby the embodied energy and carbon used to create the original building is retained and given new life, bypassing the wasteful process of demolition and reconstruction.

The design is organised around the idea that all movement in and around the building is made along a ‘verandah like’ space synonymous with Queensland’s lifestyle and climate. A perforated screen forms a continuous ribbon that frames the central outdoor play space and filters light like lattice on a verandah, designed to evoke memories of home to make the transition to care as smooth as possible for children.

The verandah begins upon entry into the centre and unites all spaces of the centre forming the social spine and provides a variety of interaction opportunities between children, carers, and parents. The verandah expands in size at the centre of the facility to form a plaza like space adjoining the kitchen which can be used for larger gatherings and at the end of the day when transferring children from their classrooms prior to home.

The interior spaces of the project are deliberately restrained and a palette of warm oak and pastel green combines with white lofted ceiling spaces to create a calming environment where the creative works of the children can take centre stage.

 

The internal space of the childcare centre is characterised by volumes within volumes with storage spaces and joinery crafted with motifs of home. This approach helps to reduce the scale of each element to a relatable size to each child making their experience familiar and friendly.

Working closely with our landscape design team the central outdoor play space provides the ideal environment for play based learning and engagement. Prior to urbanisation, Richlands was regarded to be an area known for its productive horticulture, farming, and grape growing. The project seeks to re-connect the site with its former history through a series of vegetable gardens which the children can learn, explore, and begin to understand where food comes from. The importance of learning through nature is well documented and the centre strives to support this approach.

Technical Information

City
Brisbane, Queensland
Year
2022
Client
Home Consortium Childcare Centres
Status
Complete, 2022
Key Consultants
Urbis, Northrop, Omnii, Package Landscape Australia, Efficient Living, MWA Environmental
Photography
Christopher Frederick Jones