Location: Melbourne VIC, Australia
Architects: Bloxas - Black Line One X Architecture Studio
Client: Grange Road Kindergarten Association and Bayside City Council
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Ben Hosking
From the architect. This project was part of the Victoria state government’s 2010-11 early childhood development initiative, and was completed in March 2012. The approach to learning at the Grange Road Kindergarten is one of discovery through play. The educational environment utilizes internal and external spaces, so the design created unrestricted connection between the playground and the classroom. This sentiment continues throughout the new design enabling physical and visual connection to the external spaces.
The design encompasses transitional decking and ramp, a more pronounced entry and lobby, an increase in square meterage through the re-working of an existing classroom, and utilization of interstitial spaces. On approach to the kindergarten children are invited and excited by the gradient of vibrant colours upon the low-height pailingfence which hovers over the blue gum timber ramp. Upon arriving at the kinder each day the design attempts to incite happiness and inspiration to the child’s day.
These elements, incorporating tiered timber seating at the site’s approach, now provides a fun, light filled, transitional space, wide enough for times of heavy pedestrian traffic and informal conversations, along with the storage of bicycles and prams. Entry into the new light filled room gives direct views into the playground and the chance to look back towards the site’s access from Grange Road.
The new front classroom is flooded with northern and eastern light. The northern elevation contains a pop-out plywood window seat offering a place for the children to sit in the morning and afternoon sun. The new ceiling line is raked, increasing both the sight connection with the surrounding tree tops, and enabling eastern light which contributes to the depth of space.
The external canopy colour mimics the sun-dappled leaves, enhancing the connection with the natural environment, whilst offering shelter above theatrette style timber seating. These alterations and additions enhance the values and atmosphere the kinder community has worked to create. Interconnecting and transitional spaces remove boundaries, and create a sense of unity throughout the project and building’s entirety.