Live and Learn

SUPERCONTEXT’s brief for Balgowlah Early Learning Centre in NSW was a novel one: to turn a state heritage-listed electricity substation into an early learning/long day care centre. The design concept looked locally for references – specifically, inspired by the materials of suburban Australian backyards. “We focused on the development being an expanded backyard, particularly with regards to the playground areas of the childcare centre,” elaborates Director, Andrew Daly.

Preserving the original industrial heritage fabric was paramount; transformer bays of lesser historical significance on-site were demolished, their bricks recycled and used to restore important remaining structures. An approximately 800-square-metre extension contains classrooms, indoor/ outdoor play spaces and amenities.

The old and new structures are woven together by a vivacious palette that little ones are sure to admire. “Colour was used throughout the job internally to create relationships between elements, and make clear the diagrammatic logic of the centre through using colour to identify spatial and programmatic relationships of the planning,” Andrew notes.

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