2017

Tasmanian Architecture Awards

Sydney Blythe Award for Educational Architecture

Location

South Hobart, Tasmania

Client

Lady Gowrie Tasmania

Year

2016

Images

Nina Hamilton

Land of

muwinina

Peter Walker

Elizabeth Walsh

Todd Henderson

Chris Roberts

Samantha Beavis

Andrew Geeves

Jo Churchill

Team

+

Fairbrother

Aldanmark

Lady Gowrie

Stacked and shifted ‘jenga’ block storeys. A play terrain blurs the boundaries of age

Children look at the world differently. So for Lady Gowrie, we reclaimed our childlike sense of wonder and put the playful into the would-be ordinary.

We designed a three-storey play terrain across an inner city industrial site. We aimed to bring the business together with room to breathe.

And adapt the raw materiality of a mechanic’s workshop for a very different use.

 

Lady Gowrie offers education and care for children in Hobart. Their new site aimed to integrate child care, training and community aspects of their business. Though moving towards a more inclusive, ‘whole centre’ approach, Lady Gowrie wanted to maintain a non-institutional feel. Acid bright yellows, pinks and an orange slide swooping into a sandpit felt more like their vision.

Towering timber stacks

The South Hobart site had formerly been a petrol station, car showroom and mechanics workshop. The warehouses had a raw, utilitarian scale and materiality, marked with automotive paraphernalia. Though at first glance it felt contradictory to the new purpose, we aimed to playfully incorporate this history rather than erase it.

With a joyfulness to appeal to children, our timber-clad design referenced stacked timber blocks. These shifting ‘jenga’ style block storeys also created opportunity: double height play space, a central void allowing sun to throw patterns over the interior, and a lemon tree-filled terrace with mountain views.

Play meets purpose

Much of our design allowed for informal learning opportunities. A loose pinwheel approach fostered vertical circulation, breakout spaces and chance encounters. Transparent spaces also encouraged passive observation, creating a learning environment for both children and adults alike. 

Yellow handrails and colourful floor coverings simplified the vertical circulation of the building. This wayfinding strategy leads children and adults alike to their destination. We also added climbing walls, interactive joinery and playful balustrades to create visual connections between spaces.

To formally reflect on Lady Gowrie’s mantra of ‘children first’, we positioned children’s play at the front of the building above the public entrance. The entry ‘fun’ tunnel, a collaboration with local artist Judith Abell, also employs art as a device to engage, enthral and distract.

Crocodile hand rails and circular windows

Watching children immersed in play is one of life’s great pleasures. But as our lead architect Liz watched daughter Orla engage with Lady Gowrie, she could reflect how truly this work met the brief, too. When you design for play, it’s all in the details. From crocodile hand rails to circular windows, it’s a space that fully absorbs big and little people alike.

We learned how important it is to find a builder who’s engaged with the project’s intention. We worked hard to create drawings, not just 2D details, to fully communicate our design intent. When you work closely and effectively with specialised tradesmen and the project team more broadly, it’s all the more rewarding to see this joyful space come to life. A place that exudes happiness and transparency, perhaps even better than we first imagined. 

LADY

GOWRIE

Stacked and shifted ‘jenga’ block storeys. A play terrain blurs the boundaries of age

Children look at the world differently. So for Lady Gowrie, we reclaimed our childlike sense of wonder and put the playful into the would-be ordinary.

We designed a three-storey play terrain across an inner city industrial site. We aimed to bring the business together with room to breathe.

And adapt the raw materiality of a mechanic’s workshop for a very different use.

 

Lady Gowrie offers education and care for children in Hobart. Their new site aimed to integrate child care, training and community aspects of their business. Though moving towards a more inclusive, ‘whole centre’ approach, Lady Gowrie wanted to maintain a non-institutional feel. Acid bright yellows, pinks and an orange slide swooping into a sandpit felt more like their vision.

2017

Tasmanian Architecture Awards

Sydney Blythe Award for Educational Architecture

Location

South Hobart, Tasmania

Client

Lady Gowrie Tasmania

Year

2016

Images

Nina Hamilton

Land of

muwinina

Peter Walker

Elizabeth Walsh

Todd Henderson

Chris Roberts

Samantha Beavis

Andrew Geeves

Jo Churchill

Team

+

Fairbrother

Aldanmark

Lady Gowrie

Towering timber stacks

The South Hobart site had formerly been a petrol station, car showroom and mechanics workshop. The warehouses had a raw, utilitarian scale and materiality, marked with automotive paraphernalia. Though at first glance it felt contradictory to the new purpose, we aimed to playfully incorporate this history rather than erase it.

With a joyfulness to appeal to children, our timber-clad design referenced stacked timber blocks. These shifting ‘jenga’ style block storeys also created opportunity: double height play space, a central void allowing sun to throw patterns over the interior, and a lemon tree-filled terrace with mountain views.

Play meets purpose

Much of our design allowed for informal learning opportunities. A loose pinwheel approach fostered vertical circulation, breakout spaces and chance encounters. Transparent spaces also encouraged passive observation, creating a learning environment for both children and adults alike. 

Yellow handrails and colourful floor coverings simplified the vertical circulation of the building. This wayfinding strategy leads children and adults alike to their destination. We also added climbing walls, interactive joinery and playful balustrades to create visual connections between spaces.

To formally reflect on Lady Gowrie’s mantra of ‘children first’, we positioned children’s play at the front of the building above the public entrance. The entry ‘fun’ tunnel, a collaboration with local artist Judith Abell, also employs art as a device to engage, enthral and distract.

Crocodile hand rails and circular windows

Watching children immersed in play is one of life’s great pleasures. But as our lead architect Liz watched daughter Orla engage with Lady Gowrie, she could reflect how truly this work met the brief, too. When you design for play, it’s all in the details. From crocodile hand rails to circular windows, it’s a space that fully absorbs big and little people alike.

We learned how important it is to find a builder who’s engaged with the project’s intention. We worked hard to create drawings, not just 2D details, to fully communicate our design intent. When you work closely and effectively with specialised tradesmen and the project team more broadly, it’s all the more rewarding to see this joyful space come to life. A place that exudes happiness and transparency, perhaps even better than we first imagined.