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DESCRIPTION Sited at the entrance to the Royal Darwin Hospital, the Childcare Centre looks out over the spacious grounds of the hospital. In the distance a small creek surrounded by dense landscaping frames the children’s view from the playgound. The centre provides a much needed service for hospital staff and working parents from the surrounding suburbs. Rather than an oppressive institutional building, the design of the centre recognised the need for small intimate spaces more appropriate for children than adults. Textures and colours in wall tiles, floors and paint finishes were a visually important element in the interior design, with each play space identified by a particular colour. The large, light-filled volumes of the playrooms, with louvres and doors opening onto wide verandahs and the playground beyond, provides ample space for the children to express their individuality.
JURY VERDICT Located in the grounds of the Royal Darwin Hospital the Childcare Centre caters for seventy-five children ranging in age from babies through to after-school care for teenagers. The architects were successful in persuading the client to reorient the building for maximum shade and to catch prevailing breezes. High ceilings, extensive glass louvred external walls and glass and wooden louvred internal walls provide cross flow ventilation and natural light. The main play areas are also provided with dropped fans. The estimated maximum demand for an air conditioned, sealed building in Darwin is approximate 95 to 110VA per square metre and the estimated maximum demand for this building was 85VA. Consultants estimate that, in contrast, the Childcare Centre’s power consumption will be 25VA per square metre in the dry and approximately 35VA per square metre in the wet, when specialised areas (nursery sleeping room) utilise air conditioning.
Childcare Centre, Royal Darwin Hospital Project Architect, Design Architect, Project Manager, Interior Designer The Architects Studio. Project Team Peter Fletcher, Greg McNamara, David Bridgman. Developer Royal Darwin Hospital/Wanguri Family Centre. Structural Consultant, Civil Consultant Colless & O?Neill. Electrical Consultant, Mechanical Consultant ATH Consultants. Hydraulic Consultant Richard Nicholls. Quantity Surveyor Clive Towell & Associates. Other Prue Walsh. Builder St Hilliers. Photography Dasilva.