2015 National Architecture Awards: Education Commendation

Camperdown Childcare by CO-AP (Architects) Educational Architecture: National Commendation Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

This project for an eighty-place childcare centre successfully inserts new architecture into a former industrial warehouse in Sydney’s inner west. The architects’ response to the brief has been to cleverly design a series of indoor and outdoor spaces that create the ambience of a domestic neighbourhood. While the inherent qualities of the warehouse have been preserved, large parts of the roof have been removed to create outdoor play spaces. Other sections of the roof have been retained for shade and waterproofing. The internal accommodation requirements have been met through the design of simple and delightful structures that provide a domestic typology and scale suitable for children. Collectively these structures form a playful streetscape and skyline when viewed from the outdoor play area.

Simple materials, a restrained colour palette (avoiding the overuse of primary colours prevalent in early learning centres) and a judicious use of many textures have resulted in a robust and very cost-effective outcome. The architects have taken every opportunity to provide a wonderful learning environment full of choice for children and staff. This project has successfully challenged current risk-averse commercial models and has contributed positively to invigorating an increasingly demanding building typology.

Read the project review by Sing D’Arcy from Artichoke issue 48.

Products and materials

Armstrong Accolade Plus in ‘Carnarvon Red’ in playrooms and Accolade Safe in ‘White Spice’ in wet areas.
Interface Cubic Colours carpet tile in ‘Sunflower’ in playrooms and Interface Cubic in ‘Purpose’ in staff rooms.
Abet Laminati ‘Seragrafia 1243’ laminate by Ettore Sottsass in playrooms. Laminex ‘Fresh Sprout’ in bathrooms and ‘Sheer Mesh’ in utility areas.
Walls and ceilings
Oriented strand board, unfinished.
Windows and doors
Maple with natural stain.
Wedge wall light from Masson For Light. Zara round oyster light from Domus. Clipsal Highbay light.
Caroma Junior toilet suite. Britex stainless steel handwash trough and baby bath. Blanco inset sink and laundry tub.
Dorf Flickmixer handbasin mixer and sink mixer and Oasis sink mixer. Caroma Nordic Care accessible handbasin mixer.
Door hardware
Dalco Diablo lever sets.
Ergerite children’s chair from MTA. Stockholm Series birch plywood tables and bookcases from Modern Teaching Aids. Playroom pigeonhole shelving and outdoor dining set from Palletable.


Design practice
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Project Team
Will Fung, Patrik Braun, Tina Engelen
Acoustics Acoustic Logic
Builder Blitz Group
Hydraulics Glenn Haig & Associates Pty Ltd
Landscape architect Fiona Robbé Landscape Architects
Landscape contractor Jamie Miller Landscapes
Mechanical contractor R & J Air Conditioning Services
Playground consultant Fiona Robbé Landscape Architects
Stormwater Ecological Design
Structural engineer Partridge
Site Details
Location Camperdown,  Sydney,  NSW,  Australia
Project Details
Status Built
Completion date 2014
Design, documentation 12 months
Construction 3 months
Category Education, Interiors
Type Adaptive re-use, Early childhood



Published online: 5 Nov 2015
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2015
Images: Ross Honeysett


Architecture Australia, November 2015

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