This complex is an integrated indoor and outdoor learning environment for 65 pre-school children from 3 to 5 years with provision for an Inclusive Preschool Program for children with disabilities. The Centre is a community hub providing a wide range of community and allied health services. Thanks to Director Jane Moore and Lauren Jew and staff, the Centre has quickly become a key part of the community heart of Aldinga Beach.
At the 2015 C.E.F.P.I. National Conference, this building won the Commendation Award in the Category 1 for New Buildings.
The Jury Citation stated
“… the emphasis on inclusiveness and openness is addressed through the use of “see-through” spaces and great use of natural light…The use of natural materials and a gentle palette is entirely refreshing and privileges colour through people and objects. The community involvement in the design, and the active use of evaluation is impressive. By addressing playful ideas, using a local theme and incorporating sustainable materials, this centre appears to be more than appropriate for the community it serves. It looks like a joyful place to be”.
The design is based on a seaside theme. The outdoors activity area provides a series of landscaped ‘rooms’ each with their own character and linked by pavements of varying textures or stepping stones. Some of the rooms are open pavement for building or group activity. Then there is the shipwreck and the tunnel and the teepee and the different soft landscaped areas, the sandpit and the creek.
Indoors the floor coverings speak of the beach. The vinyl is a photographic image of the sand and the carpet an image of the sea off Aldinga Beach. The rough timber battens above the entry and kitchen hint at the underside of the jetty.
The heart of the Centre is the Piazza, a central welcoming and gathering space where children are dropped off and collected, where community groups meet, where parents can meet visiting education and allied health specialists. The smell of coffee and baking from the kitchen, the airy and spacious feel of the high ceilings and clerestory windows and seating nooks invite visitors to stay a while or parents to come early to meet friends.
Project Architect: Daniel Smedley
Interiors: Dennis Kipridis
Photography: Hiro Ishino Photography