International Architecture Awards Tell a friend
Architects: fjmtstudio Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp Pty Ltd.
General Contractor: Ireland Brown Constructions Pty Ltd.
Client: Whitehorse City Council
Photographers: John Gollings
Located on the derelict Nunawading Primary School site, interlinked with its oval and Tunstall Park, lies the new Nunawading Community Hub. On the traditional land of the Woiworung, where large gatherings were held, this becomes a place of gathering and shared knowledge again. The heritage schoolhouse is integral to the response, lying at the threshold to the site, retaining local materiality and celebrating the collective memory of many who spent their childhood there.
The oval drives the highly transparent park interface. A highly diverse range of users has been knitted together through the process of designing this centre. The Nunawading Community Hub design set out to achieve Council's strategic direction, to support significant population growth and to enhance the built and natural environments. The project relocated 27 different community groups taking advantage of the benefits of colocation. The aim was to create a welcoming, accessible, highly flexible, multi-use space to support all user group requirements plus offer facilities to the wider community. The challenge was to accommodate extremely disparate uses into one facility. This place is truly democratic, catering to its community's broadest and most specific preferences.
It celebrates both diversity and unity as a benchmark for future community building development. To bring so many diverse occupants together and deliver a unified and welcoming facility required excellence in co-design and design resolution. Twenty-seven disparate community groups were brought together in a single purpose-built facility, catering for the unique requirements of the Nunawading Lapidary Club, Whitehorse Arts Association and the local chapter of the U3A. A timber-lined basketball stadium provides state-of-the-art sports facilities. A dance hall and function space accommodate multipurpose use. Counselling rooms and large flexible meeting spaces occupy the school with Meals-on-Wheels and a pottery studio within the lower level. Dining areas open to the landscape.
Accessible at varying points across the sloping site, the building resolves challenging conditions, connecting to the landscape and public domain via sweeping paths and landscape walls. Existing trees were enhanced by a vast range of new trees and plantings creating excellent outdoor settings. This white, seamless backdrop celebrates people and their creativity, activity and sense of togetherness. It celebrates the highly valued park and school building, integral to the memories and future lives of Nunawading's community. There is an emphasis on wellness and sustainability which far exceeds its 5 Green Star rating through supporting social connections, health, diversity and strong links to the outdoors.