Creating a new community space

FMSA Architecture was tasked with designing a new type of community space for a nonprofit organisation

Architect: FMSA ArchitecturePhotography by Phil Nitchie and architecture, estate, facade, home, house, property, real estate
Architect: FMSA ArchitecturePhotography by Phil Nitchie and Andrew San

Architect: FMSA ArchitecturePhotography by Phil Nitchie and Andrew San From the architect: Our client, Karingal are a nonprofit organisation established by a group of local Geelong parents in 1952 to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. “Karingal” is an Aboriginal word meaning “happy home” and the creation of healthy environments is a cornerstone of Karingal’s philosophy. The Eastern Hub vision combines two core principles: ‘to provide first-class disability care within a deinstitutionalised setting’, and ‘to be inclusive for all by design and culture’. It provides a unique environment for human interaction as a key component of a holistic-care philosophy. The Eastern Hub is an unmistakably public place with a prominent, entry providing clear views into the café, gallery, and garden courtyard; all spaces shared by Karingal and the community for recreation, training and functions. The shared arrangement supports managed and casual interaction between Karingal’s staff, clients and the public. The “soft-modern” building aesthetic creates an inviting environment that accommodates community and institutional requirements. The patina of undulating, layered wall forms complement the residential scale and character of the neighbourhood. An abundance of natural light, rammed earth walls and exposed recycled hardwood imbue the building with simple warmth and solidity reflective of the project philosophy. At the new Eastern Hub, Karingal provide specialised day care, training and personal development services for some of its “clients”. The building is designed specifically to meet the needs of people with a range of disabilities. Uniquely, the Eastern Hub is also a publicly accessible, community facility. The brief was to provide a welcoming place, inclusive by design and culture to be accessed by all people within the community. Karingal required the inclusion of innovative, activated spaces to attract the public, support community connection and enhance improved outcomes for both the Karingal client base and the local community. The whole facility and surrounding garden areas were required to be fully accessible and comply with the principles of universal and environmental design.

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