Bayswater Early Years Hub
- k20 Architecture
- Knox City Council
Bayswater Early Years Hub (Sunflower) is an integrated community hub supporting a growing community with much needed early years day care, family and maternal child health services. Comprised of two U shaped building forms, orientated to maximise the use of sunlight, the curved floor plan mirrors a sunflower ‘turning towards the sun’. Setting a new benchmark for sustainable design in local government, k20 Architecture is continuing to push the boundaries of the typical and is part of the greater movement to normalise sustainable design in “everyday buildings”.
Designed to foster and strengthen community engagement users are connected through volume, space and colour. As occupants move through the main entrance to the east-facing coloured glass wall they are met with a kaleidoscope of colour each morning before taking the journey down both curved wings to arrive at the early years and pre-school areas which enjoy optimum levels of natural light, ventilation and acoustic separation. A centralised play space brings together all user’s and window placement throughout the building’s curves create views from outside and within, supporting the identity of Sunflower being a community place for all.
Positioned at the centre of the local community, Sunflower serves as a key destination and meeting point improving connectivity, liveability and quality of life for the community. This space is gender neutral, multi-age, multi-cultural, universally accessible, flexible and adaptable with a potential 100+ year building life cycle. We adopted a salutogenic approach to design with all building material considered for function and environmental impact, thereby promoting a healthy environment and reduce operational and ongoing maintenance costs. Sunflower runs off grid most of the year (with the exception of highly overcast days) and produces more energy that it consumes.
Sunflower replaced a 1970’s brown-brick building. Extensively refurbished over the years it could no longer service the growing community. The new facility incorporates flexible spaces to support pedagogies which aid teacher/ student collaboration, quiet spaces for independent learning and retreat, generous breakout areas for creative pursuits, display areas to celebrate ideas and communal space for parents and caregivers connected to the learning. We have created a space which sparks the curiosity and creativity of children and also creates a calm and welcoming environment for adults by successfully integrating learning spaces, maternal healthcare, allied health, supporting services and community rooms.
Key design innovations include reduced reliance on artificial lighting and heating / cooling, locally sourced and recycled materials, natural and low toxicity materials, solar array, battery storage, rainwater harvesting, native plantings and durable landscape. Sunflower runs off-grid with all material elements of the building intended to provide Council with economic sustainability through significantly reduced operational, maintenance and renewal costs with the added capability to operate at net zero.
Knox City Council seek to further enhance their reputation for considered design and development of environmentally aware sustainable projects. It was our intent to design a community hub that transpires those needs and celebrates and embraces the local cultures of City of Knox. Our design team have achieved a balance between cost and a valued architectural outcome, successfully creating a symbiotic relationship between function and sustainability meeting both the end user requirements and the project objectives. Sunflower has created a new civic identity for the area and reinforced social connection.