Meriden, OOSH

Strathfield, Sydney, NSW, Australia

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‘Free-play’ flexible facility. AJ+C were engaged by Meriden Junior School to design a new After Care Learning Centre that provided a more modern and flexible learning area. The brief for the project was to design a building that was to become a ‘free-play’ flexible facility for the School, and to provide an improved after school care environment for the staff and children. The proposed design achieved this by maximising space and natural light, the use of natural materials, the ability to adapt to different learning situations through open and flexible planning, and by maximising supervision across the center.

Sense of lightness and connection. The architecture, which is built around a central courtyard is purposely low scale creating a sense of openness that will resonate with young children. A sense of lightness and connection is achieved via the floating roof, provides, which creates and outdoor room that maintains a connection the rest of the school. The large skillion roof contrasts to the large timber beams creating a slenderness to the structure. The school is situated within a landscaped setting, and outdoor play areas form a pivotal role, through knolls, curved paths and shade structures. Natural features of the site were the inspiration for the colours and finishes promoting an stimulating environment for early education.

These drive the building form with volume, filtered light, colour and transparency, activating the main external frontage and integrating it into the existing streetscape and school grounds and blends naturally into its surroundings.

The Principal, teachers and students along with the wider community have praised the buildings outcome, which has now become a frequently well-used and highly regarded facility.

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