For many working parents, the day kicks off with a mad dash to drop pre-schoolers off at the local child centre before battling morning traffic into the city. And the end of the day is no better anxiously sitting in evening rush hour traffic, trying to get back to the centre before closing time.
That's a problem Cosmokids owner Lyn Creagh has aimed to overcome with a new child centre right in the heart of downtown Auckland.
"We looked for premises that were close to where parents work," she says. "Professional parents need some flexibility to allow for meetings and deadlines, or to be able to get to the centre quickly if a sick child needs to be picked up."
The premises she found a Queen St tower block undergoing retrofitting certainly met the location requirements. But the third floor space had another major plus it also had outdoor podium space, a unique asset for pre-school facilities in the centre of the city.
Lyn Creagh called on architect Gordon Moller and project designer Alyssa Miles to work with specialist child care designer Darren Engelbrecht of Naturally Wood on the concept design he had produced, and to take it through to its implementation stage.
Miles says the existing fit-out for a hospitality suite was not only very dated, with a low ceiling and divided into small rooms, it also had particular challenges to overcome.
"The original tower went up in the 1980s, behind a heritage facade, and the proposed child centre sat across the two buildings," she says. "So there was a level change in the middle of the space."
And while the outdoor deck was an obvious boon, there was no easy access to it in the original configuration.