Bounded on three sides by a late Victorian heritage-listed building, the extension to the Paddington Children’s Centre is a lightweight timber pavilion that is cocooned within the niche created by the existing building’s U-shaped plan.
The design of the pavilion aims to delicately touch the existing building while providing a flexibility of use for the lower lunch space. On a rainy day, the ground floor of the pavilion is completely enclosed to protect its occupants from the elements as they draw and paint, while on a fine day the 2.7m high Spotted Gum sliding doors are stacked within a joinery unit, opening up the indoor play-space onto the Blue Gum timber decking, allowing the children to play freely and have lunch in the sunshine. Meanwhile the function of the 4.2m awning door is two-fold; not only does it enable the ground floor to be completely opened up, it also forms a covered walkway between the existing building’s kitchen servery and the new pavilion, establishing a connection between the old and the new.
The first floor, a multi use play area wrapped in Jarrah shiplap cladding, nestles amongst the trees as it overlooks the rear courtyard and adjoining masonry church building. Pocket Spotted gum windows and sliding battened sunscreens allow the sun to penetrate the space as the children sing, dance and play
Timber provides a visual contrast between the existing Late Victorian building, but emphasises the existing qualities of stability, durability, expressiveness and warmth which come together to create a lively and enriching space for children and teachers alike.