Architects: Suters Architects
Location: Churchill, Victoria, Australia
Project Team: Joshua McAlister, Ian Prior, Graeme Christianson, Scott Francis, Rebecca Brewer
Building Contractor: W. Parnall Constructions
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Emma Cross
The Churchill Community Hub is a contemporary community centre that co-locates services within a larger building; it allows crossover of these services; engages the user in areas they would not have been exposed to; increasing visibility and connectedness within the community, whilst reducing the resources required to operate Council facilities.
Churchill was a planned community developed to house the influx of workers to the Hazelwood power plant in the 1950’s. The conceptual framework was based on the Latrobe Valley’s production of electricity and the power poles that cross the landscape. The design refers to the man-made nature of the township and its utopian vision that took longer to achieve. The number of user groups that inhabit the Community Hub and the iterative process of user group negotiation greatly affected the development of the design. Literally tying competing needs and uses together into one facility was expressed metaphorically in built form with the building being wrapped by a series of built elements; block work, fascia, roof and fences.
The Hub houses a range of user groups, with differing functions and clients that share facilities whilst improving the inter connectivity of social services within the rural community. The Churchill Hub operates a childcare center, a preschool, a maternal and a child health program with parenting facilities. There is a neighborhood center that conducts adult learning programs within the program rooms, office space and a computer lab. Additionally there are hot offices for local community groups to use as a base with the development of a Men’s Shed on the adjacent site.
Within the Hub the community functions are anchored by the civic presence of the Library. The traditional form of a Library has expanded to act as a service center for the delivery of occasional local government services with the reading room accessible for use by all.