Aldinga Beach Children's Centre

Project Details

Kilpatrick Architecture


Quinliven Road Aldinga , South Australia 5173 Australia

Department for Education and Child Development


Ashley Turner - Spruik Photography & Hiro Ishino Photography

Project Overview

The Aldinga Beach Childrens Centre development delivered a new 65 place Children 's Centre for Early Childhood Development and Parenting support for Children aged from birth to 8. The facilities also support families to achieve the best possible learning, health and wellbeing outcomes.

Jury Citation:

The Aldinga Beach Children’s Centre was designed to respond to the early childhood education and care needs of children of this community by providing education and allied health services for well-being and family support.  The emphasis on inclusiveness and openness is addressed through the use of “see through” spaces and great use of natural light. The children’s play areas reflect the “beach” theme of the locality. The use of natural materials and a gentle palette is entirely refreshing and privileges color through people and objects. The community involvement in the design, and the active use of evaluation is impressive.

By addressing playful ideas, using a local theme and incorporating sustainable materials this center appears to be more than appropriate for the community it serves. It looks like a joyful place to be.

The seeds for the development of the Children 's Centre were spawned in June 2009 during community meetings with the Aldinga Beach R-7 School. A 'brainstorming ' workshop held on a Saturday afternoon with an enthusiastic group of staff, parents and children, explored the school grounds identifying important sites, special nooks and zones in need of invigorating. This gathering instigated a landscaping master plan which recognized the need and the most logical site for the future Children 's Centre. The school pursued the landscaping to great effect, preparing the way for the new Centre in the south-western corner of the site.

The brief was initially based on an earlier model, but it became clear that the Aldinga Centre was to encompass a unique cultural and demographic environment. The Children 's Centre was to provide a more holistic community hub with space for 65 children including up to 10 children with disabilities in the Integrated Preschool Program. The Centre was to provide allied health services for well-being and family support. A wide variety of family and community programs would be established and run from the Centre.
From project initiation in 2011, regular design meetings were held with all stakeholders. Great support was provided by the Enabling Group; experienced educators and allied-health professionals, who lived and worked in the region. This group brought a wealth of knowledge, views, desires and passion of the communities they represented.

For children just beginning to explore the world on their own, there was to be a balance on the edge of the comfort zone; places of safety and security and places of challenge; meeting new ideas; places for interaction and for individual learning in their own way; a series of spaces akin to a warm and exciting home environment. There is a link between the adult and children 's worlds. With the proximity to the coast, a beachside theme evolved, utilizing sand, endemic plantings, natural colours and pavements, natural timber, rope, a shipwreck. Indoors the exposed timber linings and feature ceiling allude to the weathered jetty and driftwood along the beach. The floor coverings with images of sea and sand from the nearby coastline remind the children of the exciting richness of the seaside environment in which they live. The full glass walls looking into the outdoor learning area flood the activity areas with light which fluctuates with weather and seasons, connecting insi de with outdoors; spaces in which to connect learning with beauty, light and colour.

This page last updated: Tuesday 26 May 2015