The Wooloowin Childcare Centre project involved the transformation of an old brick-and-steel factory into a welcoming, contemporary childcare facility to suit 120 children.
The existing building was once the grading facility for the Defiance Flour Mill – and this branding is still visible on the roof – but it had since been subject to numerous modifications, most recently being used as an office and shed. When we began the project most of the original building’s fabric and structure were hidden in a rabbit-warren of rooms and unexpected level differences. The challenge was to keep within the client’s budget by making the most effective use of the existing building, and to meet the very specific compliance and operational requirements for a childcare centre in terms of supervision, area, access and facilities.
The strategy that we adopted was to strip the building back to its original state as much as possible, celebrate it, and use the building’s logic to inform our internal layouts. In this way we exposed much of the original structure including timber-framed floor, roof trusses, columns, and existing brick walls. The original rear verandah was reinstated and made it a part of the children’s playground, the original awning was reinstated to the east, and the original skylight provides daylight to a new internal play space on the upper level. The internal layout was arranged so that activity rooms on ground level open directly onto the playground, and activity rooms on the upper level open onto a central internal play area.
The result is a resounding success. The Centre staff and families love the mix of old and new, and we at Elevation Architecture are proud to have been involved in the recovery and preservation of this interesting building as a piece of Brisbane’s history.