East Sydney Early Learning Centre by Andrew Burges Architects in association with City of Sydney
Educational Architecture: Daryl Jackson Award
Australian Institute of Architects
The unusual opportunity to accommodate this childcare centre and ancillary community facilities in a multi- level inner-urban warehouse inspired the architects to reinvent the type, insightfully encouraging a fascination with cities as a guiding pedagogical tenet. The skilful insertion of a “reimagined” city at the scale of children transforms the interior, with highly articulated and carefully scaled spaces and courtyards for multiple settings of communal and singular play adding spatial delight. Carefully filtered light funnelled deep into the building, a warm yet gentle materials palette and playful details combine to deliver an atmosphere that engenders a sense of freedom and curiosity.
At the urban level the architects have again reinvented the brief through an imaginative solution, keeping an adjacent laneway open by connecting the adjacent playground using a “treehouse” bridge. The playground demonstrates the same rigour and focus on imaginative spatial and textural experiences. Locating the childcare centre on the top three levels also allows the community centre below to animate the laneway. The project extends its community responsibility by generously embracing and sustaining this laneway and enhancing the adjacent street. This engaging project is exemplary in placing the delight of the child’s world and its urban future at its heart.
For more coverage, read the project review by Maryam Gusheh.