University of Technology Sydney Great Hall Ultimo, NSW

Dappled Canopy

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is rebuilding and enlarging its childcare facility on the Blackfriars site near Broadway.

Blackfriars Public School built in 1884 occupies most of the site. The 3 G.A. Mansfield designed buildings, together with the perimeter fence have high heritage significance.

A childcare centre is essentially a few playrooms with associated services (change rooms, toy storage, craft preparation…). The playrooms are the core of a child’s experience of the building. For a baby or a toddler, nothing is more comforting than home. The aim of the design is to convey a homely feeling. Each playroom is an identifiable volume with a pitch roof like a traditional house but badly drawn; irregular, quirky and unpredictable. Put together they look like a child’s drawing.

The materials are warm and the light abundant. The timber cladding proposed in the new building will create a feeling of warmth and welcome, reflecting the comfort of ‘home’ through the use of a predominantly domestic material. Each playroom opens fully to the playground.

Location: Broadway, Ultimo NSW, Australia -33.884935, 151.197595
Date: 2010
Design team: Lacoste+Stevenson Architects in association with DJRD Architects, Thierry Lacoste, David Stevenson, Robin Dyke, Daniel Beekwilder, Angela Rowson, Tommy Yinhui Zhou, Jonathan Capparelli
Structural & mechanical & acoustic engineer: ARUP – Peter MacDonald, Jane Nixon, Ken Maher, Frank Butera, Larry Tedford
BCA: BCA Logic – Stuart Boyce
Quantity surveyor: WT Partnership – Gerry Heaton
Photography / images: Lacoste + Stevenson Architects