Expediency in design and construction has become commonplace in the expanding suburbs of Melbourne growth corridors, as local governments battle to provide community infrastructure in step with the growth of population at this frontier. Expediency does not, of course, make for better built environments and nor does it assist in the development of these fledgling communities. Canvas Projects design of the Mainview Boulevard Family Learning Centre for Wyndham City Council is grounded in a simple ambition, to counter expediency and to return focus toward designing for time in architecture.
Situated in Trugaina, within Wyndhams rapidly expanding north western growth front, Mainview Boulevard Family Learning Centre provides early years and family services and community spaces for the surrounding community. These communities are culturally and socially diverse, but share a common ambition of community well being and a willingness to participate despite the absence of infrastructure to support this and the time to do so. To satisfy this community ambition, the design of this centre invests significantly in the value its interstitial spaces and the amenity afforded to them. The time and space that lays between the programmed events at this centre are in fact the space where community networks develop.
The building composition is centred around such a space, an un-programmed gathering space for this community and the greater precinct. This space acts as a gateway to this facility, and as such facilitates the opportunity for community gathering at the commencement and completion for all programs at this centre. Sequences of movement through this space are curated to offer respite from the expectations of expediency that may otherwise be implied. Rewarding those who slow their engagement with this facility and gifting the time-poor a moment, as brief as it may be, to stop, reflect, enjoy a free coffee and perhaps speak with another who is doing the same.
This central gathering space is contained beneath the architectural expression of a large drum, that acts as a signifier to the precinct as to the magnitude and value held for this idea of community gathering. The drum presents itself equitably as it is viewed from all sides, and its form speaks directly to the circular gathering space that it contains, providing a clarity of architectural expression by which this community can depend. The drum sits atop a series of wings of this building that contain the various programmed spaces necessary for this community facility. These robust brickwork wings are accented by silvering timber and reflective glass that embrace the patina of time while reflecting each passing season. These wings appear to rise from this site, tell the story of this place in its patterning while directing movement towards the buildings centre. At the centre of this facility, beneath the large drum we find a young fig tree bathed in daylight, providing a marker around which this community can gather and grow.