Innovative architecture design will blend Kindergarten into Australian first project

by Freya Lucas

April 06, 2021

The Glenroy Community Hub, designed by architecture firm Designinc, could become the first community centre in Australia to achieve both Passive House and Living Building Challenge “Petal” certification.

 

Comprising a library, the Glenroy Memorial Kindergarten, maternal and community health services, as well as neighbourhood learning and childcare facilities, the $30 million Hub is now under construction, and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. 

 

Speaking with industry publication Architecture AU, Designinc director Stephen Webb said the project “would be an exemplar for sustainability” with biophilic design values embedded in the structure, and has a focus on reconnecting people with nature and providing natural experiences.

 

Throughout the consultation and planning process, project leader Kieran Leong said, both the council and community had stressed their commitment to sustainability.

 

“Every local council wants and should expect value for money from their projects, that is a given – but Moreland City Council set their sights higher, by expecting the project to be a catalyst for social change,” he said. “Through projects like this, Moreland City Council is showing true leadership in sustainable design.”

 

Internationally recognised benchmarks 

 

Both the Passive House and Living Building Challenges are internationally recognised benchmarks that require the highest level of sustainable design, checked against stringent tests and auditing processes. The overall goal is that the centre will become self-sufficient within its site, for instance producing more energy than it uses.

 

Once complete, the community hub will have a focus on tackling disadvantage at the earliest age, offering positive pathways into education, health and wellbeing for residents, “especially those with the odds stacked against them”.

 

Tackling disadvantage

 

Although Glenroy is experiencing gentrification, Architecture AU explained, it is still among the more socio-economically disadvantaged suburbs in Melbourne. 

 

According to Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) data 30 per cent of children from Glenroy and adjacent Hadfield have some form of developmental delay when starting primary school.

 

One third of households in the area are in the lowest income quartile, earning less than $624 per week.

 

Through the centre, Designinc explained, maternal and child health services will help nurture infants and their parents and an integrated day care centre and kindergarten will strengthen children’s skills and nurture healthy growth.

 

Sense of community

 

A community garden will also bring people in the area together, with meetings and celebrations to be hosted in multipurpose spaces and the adjacent parkland. 

 

“Over time it is hoped that Glenroy’s new heart will foster a healthier, more capable and more cohesive community,” the architects said.

 

The centre will be located in a parkland setting off Wheatsheaf Road, by the Bridget Shortell Reserve

 

More information, and design sketches of the project, is available here

PRINT