KU ANSTO Children’s Centre has places for 48 children aged from 0- 5yrs. The building form is derived from the bushland setting; two Spotted Gum timber-clad volumes weave between clusters of eucalypts connected by a large, glazed, multi-purpose foyer space. Inset path lights form glowing stepping stones to guide visitors beneath the trees. Varying height window boxes, brilliantly coloured to match the vibrant native flora, hint at the ‘playful’ function and at night glow lantern-like with warmth and invitation. These window boxes allow the children a framed view of the outside world that responds to their own scale and encourages their innate capacity for discovery and wonder. Three large, light-filled children’s playrooms enjoy direct access to a North-oriented playground. The selection of natural materials like timber and a warm-hued natural rubber floor create comforting ‘home-like’ spaces for children. The high volumes of the playrooms’ raked ceilings allow a playful arrangement of suspended linear lighting fixtures influenced by the childhood game of ‘pick-up sticks’. The overarching aim of the design was to blur the line between the outside and the inside, the playground and the playroom, creating an almost amorphous ‘laboratory of play’ for exploration, learning and adventure. - Tasmin Dunn, Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke
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