Architects: Fox Johnston
- Area: 775 m²
- Year: 2018
Manufacturers: Better Tiles, Dulux, Inlite, Lockwood, McCallum, Ontera
- Heritage: Urbis
- Electrical, Lighting, Mechanical & Hydraulic: IGS
- Access: Access Australia
- Signage: Extra Black
- Fire Consultant: BCA Innovations
- Bca Consultant: BCA Innovations
- Client: The City of Sydney
- City: Zetland
- Country: Australia
Text description provided by the architects. Located in the ever-evolving Green Square precinct, the Waranara Early Learning Centre provides much-needed daycare for young residents in the local community. The project involves the adaptive reuse of a heritage-listed outpatients building into a 74 place Early learning space. A complex brief, as well as a sensitive client, has resulted in a challenging project. Careful attention has been placed on the overall usability of the Centre resulting in a cohesive and robust design bridging old and new.
The integrity of the existing building has been retained - breathing new life into the structure – and a contemporary wing housing the entry, playspace and wraparound verandah has been grafted onto the original shell. This permeable verandah space, designed as an extension of the inside spaces, connects seamlessly to the new central playspace incorporating sensory paths, playful raised veggie gardens, outdoor kitchens, and digging patches. Playful openings in the façade and boundary walls promote interaction with the public domain, offering children opportunities for interaction and connection.
This center has been thoughtfully designed to surprise and delight both its small clients and their carers as well as offer the opportunity to understand the history of the site and its evolution. Existing internal spaces have been adapted to create light-filled open playrooms with existing roof cowls bringing natural light and ventilation into these spaces. Exposed steel trusses - taken from the design of the original Queen Post trusses - highlight the form of the existing building. Wide openings around the center lead out onto the generous verandah designed as an extension of the inside spaces.
This pivotal space allows for passive play and craft in an outdoor setting whilst still protected from the sometimes harsh Australian climate. A playful seat-wall in the central outdoor playspace provides a separation between age groups, while still promoting interaction with the adjacent areas. A range of reuse and sustainability measures have been used, including recycling of the existing brick and timber work in the form of internal walling, paving and cladding, passive solar and ventilation design through orientation, hydronic floor heating, heat recovered air conditioning systems, 8kW solar array system, rainwater collection tanks, and bicycle storage.