Russell Yelland

Renown Park Children’s Centre

Completed: 2017
Client: SA Department of Education / Renown Park Children's Centre

Sometimes the best way to support young learners in their transition from early years to primary education is to shorten the distance between schools and essential services.

The visual connection and access benefits of colocation are well known, but success is often determined by how well a new facility assimilates within an established master plan.

What we did: New build
Early learning centre
Child care
Nature play

Relocating Renown Park Children’s Centre to sit alongside Brompton Primary School would be a challenge given the multiplicity of services proposed on the tight wedge of land available. The building would need to accommodate long day care, occasional care and community health services, so finding efficiencies would be paramount.

With nature play a major focus, we proposed to carve a small strip from the edge of the school’s oval to generate enough space for indoor and outdoor activity. Our design solution included two reflected but skewed skillion roof forms, connected by a lower height bridging element. Together, they form an interrupted gable profile, where the lower height spine draws natural light into both wings while also housing the administrative offices, services and stores along the building’s centre.

Durability and economy were also found in simple materials: brick and timber, while heat controlled glass and high levels of insulation helped to achieve excellent environmental performance, amplified by solar and rainwater capture.

15.022 Renown Park Childrens Centre 18

To encourage imaginative play and eco-literacy, the landscape is deliberately devoid of large-scale manufactured play equipment. Instead, there are native grasses for kids to hide amongst, a swale-like drain system, and natural texture to investigate in sawn log paving profiles, timber bridges, ropes and rock paths. A mud kitchen and sand pit with timber shade structure offer further tactile play zones, and there’s plenty of room for veggie beds, a pizza oven, resident chooks and a worm farm.

Photography credits:With permission Department for Education