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BDAV 2015 Building Design Awards

Koala Childcare and Early Learning Centre, Warrnambool

WinnerNon-Residential Design: Alterations/Additions

Designer: Form & Function Building Design Builder: Nicholson Construction
Photographer: Phinc Location: Warrnambool, VIC

This project is an excellent example of how an existing building can be economically recycled to fulfil contemporary requirements. The judges applaud the intelligent re-purposing of a sound structure without the need for additions while enhancing the historic charm of a building that was originally built as a primary school. Conversion of the building for another educational use is also noteworthy in an age when such facilities are regularly demolished and replaced. Clever internal planning has provided light and airy spaces, with a rabbit warren of accretions removed from the original large classrooms to provide cheerful and functional children’s rooms. Thoughtful upgrading of existing elements such as stairs and balustrades to ensure compliance has make sure that budgets were met and character retained. The original building is acknowledged throughout, with painted brickwork and original windows remaining within existing verandahs which have been enclosed to form light-filled circulation spaces. The interior colour palette is clean but warm, with bright but restrained colour accents to provide playful elements without resorting to the simplistic clich├ęs so often found in childcare environments. A new exterior colour palette has uplifted the contribution made by the building to the streetscape, successfully consolidating the sparely detailed interwar building with a functional but technically inappropriate previously added Victorian style verandah.