SYDNEY – Australian architects Penny Collins and Huw Turner were recently involved in the refurbishment of the premises of a not-for-profit organisation in Sydney, Australia. Providing support, programmes and services to disadvantaged locals, the community association can now hold its activities in a dynamic, welcoming and cooperative workspace overlooking a skatepark.
The designers explain: ‘The refurbished building has additionally become an extension of the landscape, combining architecture and horticulture in a unique way so as to create a new sculptural form that enlivens the southern area of the Waterloo Oval site.’
The architects laid out the programme freely, using the existing structure in order to articulate a new central courtyard crowned by a planted roof structure, an angular robust galvanised steel canopy filtering light through its climbing branches and broad leaf plants. Much of the materials used throughout the project tend however to recall elements from a raspy urban scenery, such as railings, barriers, shutters and gratings. That said, the building is naturally incorporated into its surroundings as it engages in an interesting interplay with the topography and gives way for a lush natural growth.
Housing a hall, counselling rooms, individual offices, a rest area and a kitchen, the cohesive layout allows for great flexibility while ensuring fluidity among the community and the collaborative teams of social workers.
For Collins and Turner Architects, the goal was simple: ‘The building was designed to be robust, low maintenance, long lasting and will have a low environmental impact due to its minimal use of natural resources, a wide incorporation of salvaged materials, its efficient rainwater harvesting system and its passive conditioning system providing optimal thermal comfort.’
Photos Paul Bradshaw and Richard Glover