Chigwell Child and Family Centre

The Chigwell Child and Family Centre initiative improves the health and wellbeing, education and care of children from birth to five years by supporting parents and enhancing service accessibility in the local community. The building is an interactive play structure, a community hub combined with facilities for health support and outreach services.

Project Details

Morrison & Breytenbach in assn with Scott & Ryland Architects

Winner Category 2: New Construction Major Facility

4 Bethune Street Chigwell Tasmania 7011 Australia

Tasmanian Department of Education and Morrison & Breytenbach


Ray Joyce

Project Overview

The Chigwell Child and Family Centre is a community hub delivering child centred educational and community programs, health support and outreach services in a socially and economically disadvantaged area. It is welcoming, comfortable, inclusive and accessible. It addresses social isolation and helps build community.

Optimum use of the long narrow sloping site is achieved and bold architectural forms establish a unique local identity and sense of place.

Conceptually the building is designed to be an interactive play structure. A play spine runs the length of the building engaging children in exploration and play interspersed with climbing and sliding fun. It extends externally to the spectacular borrowed landscape of the River Derwent beyond.

The interior is bright, colourful, and vibrant. A range of volumes, scale, and level changes define areas for different uses. Flexible spaces remain opened up for large group activities or partitioned down to suit more intimate small group requirements. Visual interconnection and passive surveillance by staff provide opportunity for parents to relax or participate in community training programs.

Environmentally sustainable design and the use of natural materials and ample natural light and ventilation create a homely, healthy and emotionally uplifting user experience.

Juries Comment

"As the winner, the jury selected a facility whose primary purpose is to promote the health, wellbeing and education of young children and their families in their local area. It is both a learning centre and a social hub for the community.

The Chigwell Child and Family Centre in Tasmania is built on a steep and narrow site with great views of the River Derwent. The building steps down through the site, maximising its potential for the creation of varied, challenging and exciting play spaces through the use of multiple levels connecting to outdoor decks.

The play spaces have been designed to foster adventurousness, imagination and complex scenarios using large and small spaces, varied elevations, colour and connectedness with nature.

Early stage consultation with the community was a vital aspect of building the trust essential for this integrated centre to be effective. The building became operational in October 2012 and has served to create a marvellous learning adventure for children and a safe social centre for families.

Congratulations to the Department of Education Tasmania, and Morrison & Breytenbach in association with Scott & Ryland Architects and Chigwell Child and Family Centre."

This page last updated: Friday 31 May 2013