data, awards, description –
Capturing the Northern Beaches natural features
AJ+C were invited by Northern Beaches Council to participate in a design competition for the Warriewood Valley Community Centre, as one of 5 selected architects.
The landmark site is the corner of Pittwater Road and Jacksons Road, right alongside the Boondah Reserve playing fields. The brief called for 4 flexible community halls ranging from 150-500sqm plus a variety of ancillary spaces. The total building area is to be approx. 2000sqm and the construction budget is approx. $8M.
Our design takes inspiration from the topography, history and culture of Warriewood. It captures the story of the natural features as well as the human occupation of this place.
Echoing the topography
The roof geometry echoes the unique and beautiful topography of this part of Sydney: the rolling hills and valleys, ridges and slopes of the bushy northern beaches. The building’s form also remembers the shape of the glasshouses of the former Yugoslavian and Italian migrant farmers who grew tomatoes in this area in the ‘40s and ‘50s. The vertical pattern of the building’s distinctive fascia is derived from a study of wetland reeds and grasses which would have been familiar to the indigenous Guringai people who found nourishment in this once-swampy land. The extended roof provides a large verandah under which to shelter from the sun and for the community to gather. This continues the easy-going vibe created by the ‘fringe dwellers’ who established the northern beaches as an idyllic part of Sydney where families can thrive.
Understanding the identity of Warriewood people
Internally we propose an exposed timber structure to give character to the spaces. We’re drawn to the idea of people gathering under beach umbrellas, BBQ shelters and marquees – simple Australian settings which speak the language of this community. Our design recalls the geometry and character of these settings and reinterprets them in a contemporary manner.
Our proposal is a cost-effective, practical, durable and flexible building that addresses the functional brief and technical constraints of the site, and is additionally imbued with the joyful and unique identity of the Warriewood people. All layout and planning decisions were based primarily on responsible sustainable design considerations which would ensure the building’s life-time carbon footprint would be reduced as much as possible.
Our design is characterised by a big roof which provides a powerful sense of togetherness for the diverse range of people and activities that will give life to the centre.
- ClientNorthern Beaches Council