Social Media

Pathways ECI a non-profit centre serving it's community gets an exciting new upgrade

Pathways ECI (Early Childhood Intervention), a not-for-profit centre in Marickville, Sydney serving disabled children (either with mental disabilities and/or social disadvantages) has been given an exciting upgrade.

RAW Architects kindly offered their services in doing some of the work pro bono to assist the centre in establishing a path to funding; where the centre following receiving Development Application (DA) approval in June 2012, received a 1.5m grant from Government and corporate funding. A deserved feat for the growing cause (and the hardworking and generous volunteers).

The entry is characterised by a house "cut-out" or profile that cuts into the building's outer skin. Marking for the child a strong arrival moment or transition from the outside to now being within the safe confines of the centre. As seen left, the jagged cut into the buildings grey profiled steel metal cladding reveals a striped colourful strip, thus breaking down the scale of the building, whilst giving a sense of drama and play. Also seen left, is an undercroft (transitory zone) that connects the play areas to the rear of the centre. Right is the entry reception and waiting area for parents.

Much of the original structure was retained and adapted, including two playrooms (as seen left) and associated service spaces. While new joinery and floor finishes integrate the existing spaces with the new. Shown right is the new sensory room, which breaks out onto Jarvie Park. The flexible room provides space for various "play" activities. The indoor space providing soft modular mats, cushions and canopies; the outside a blue turf, green mounds and gardens.

Colour is carefully selected - used for transition space (the vertically clad soffits in an array of oranges, yellows and red) marking the event from passing from one space to another; and red doors signalling play rooms, while yellow doors signal a bathroom. Inside colour is neutral as to not detract from the hustle of activity occurring within.

The site's many outdoor landscaped spaces establishes a direct interface with the building - providing the building's inhabitants with "niches" for relaxing, socialising and enjoying the fresh air.

Clerestory windows draw in morning light and the LED stip lighting and warm materials provide a sense of homeliness to the spaces. Integrated joinery (like the cubbies and cupboards seen above) shows the architect's consideration to detail. The handles - one big and one small, representing the relationship between carer and child.

Pathways offers a combination of day services that are located at the centre and home visit services that cover over 20 surrounding suburbs. The planning layout of the centre provides hot-desking space for staff who spend a lot of time on the road. Through the use of screens and intermediate break-out spaces a balance has been struck between the collective culture of the centre and the need for separation of individual staff. 

The project is one that considers the views of the child and the wider community - staff, parents and caregivers. A robust, friendly and manageable facility - the design also through it's use of colour, texture and detailing appeals to the child's inquisitiveness and sensory experiences.


Post a Comment


site by Ana Degenaar