little village early learning
This project has been a truly remarkable journey - with design commencing while Jess was pregnant with her first child, the final DA negotiations and amendments occurring with baby in arms and eventually “open for learning” with pupil number one being Miss Imogen Hardwick. To say that a lot of love went into this one would be the understatement of the century!
Type: Education - Early Learning
Size: 205 place centre (babies to kindergarten) with 1737m² of GFA
Passive design, passive ventilation
Natural ventilation strategy/ designed for limited use of air-conditioning
Recycled & natural materials
All harvested trees from the site were milled and used to build furniture and play equipment.
Builder: Nairn Construction
Town Planner: Wolter Consulting Group
Engineer: Brisse Engineers
Photographer: Alanna McTiernan
Our approach to this project placed sustainability at the fore, from the macro to the micro. Our framework for design on this project centred around taking what was essentially a weed-riddled cow paddock and turning it into a thriving natural ecosystem, a facility that truly serves the local community, with buildings that teach children about the natural environment. Coming at the design process as a young soon to be and subsequently new parent placed Jess in a unique position to really appreciate the tender phase of life that families are in when placing their child into an early learning setting. As such, creating a facility that was truly nurturing, peaceful and fun drove our approach and sat very harmoniously with the owner-operator's aspiration to “create childcare that grandparents can feel proud of”. Our core brief was to create a “village” of buildings that relate very strongly to the outdoor environment. The centre is quite large in scale (over 200 children), so in order to break the spaces down and maintain a friendly, almost home-scaled sense of space, the programme has been separated into three key zones. These zones are: Parking & Administration, Junior Studios and Senior Studios, and central utilities such as commercial kitchen, laundry and bulk storage located centrally. Our primary strategy is to create a genuine community facility that fosters a sense of communal respect for the built and natural environment. A particular way to achieve this is creating buildings that teach. Our spaces have been designed to connect children to the changing rhythms of the days and seasons, with dappled light moving through the internal and outdoor play spaces in dynamic ways throughout the day. Shadows of trees moving are visible in the ampelite outdoor skylights, rain can fall in strategically un-roofed areas of the playscape and children of all ages can watch and learn as the green space of their environment grows and changes.