Text description provided by the architects. This project sensitively inserts new architecture into a former industrial warehouse building, located in the inner west of Sydney, for a new 80-place childcare centre.
The brief called for a new 80-place childcare centre that would accommodate indoor and outdoor playspaces, an abundance of daylight and natural ventilation and a low VOC materials specification. Dominant bright colours, usually associated with institutional childcare accommodation, were avoided in preference to a palette of natural, honest materials and finishes to create a familiar residential feel.
A large cut-out to the existing warehouse roof created outdoor playspaces open to the elements while the remaining roof provides shade and shelter over the new internal building forms. Where possible, the warehouse building elements retained were left in original condition to reveal layers of site history.
The new interior architecture incorporates pop-up clerestory windows allowing sunshine to penetrate deep into the playrooms. The use of primary shapes and platonic forms in the building elements give opportunities for imagination and education. In collaboration with the landscape architect we integrated a series of naturally non-uniform and adventurous elevated spaces amongst prerequisite soft-fall surrounds. These provide stimulating play areas to challenge balance and promote risk evaluation that are fundamental for early childhood development.
A modularised system of fabrication yielded an economical and efficient build, allowing for on site construction and fit-out to be completed in 12 weeks.
Being our first childcare centre project we have used the opportunity to evaluate current risk-adverse commercial models and reassess superseded early childhood rationales. Camperdown Childcare hopefully contributes to invigorating this increasingly demanding building typology.