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St Vincent de Paul Inala Family Support Centre

November 03, 2017 · Awards, Community

2015 AIA Queensland Architecture Awards
State Commendation 


A streamlined linear extension of a converted cottage adds much needed space to an integral community support facility.

The corner site, constrained by area enabled a 3 metre wide linear extension along the southern boundary fronting the major road. The extruded form has a translucent ‘lantern’ fascia to the south which provides ample natural light to interior by day and glows like a metaphorical beacon to the street by night. The architectural response functions environmentally and as enlivened streetscape.

A very modest budget has covered the extension, renovation, new driveway/carpark and landscaping. The existing house was constructed of solid concrete walls (and partitions!) so demolition was minimised to the south wall. The extension houses a new entry/waiting area; a new hygienic food storage room and a training room. Staffed by volunteers, the facility works hard to assist many community needs including provision of food packages; counselling; basic skills training (computer, cooking, language). Security was a major issue and staff safety was carefully addressed in the planning and detailing. Entry checkpoints, clear sight-lines for internal surveillance and one-way glass assist staff with the safe and efficient processing of clients.

The architecture is domestically scaled in keeping with the cottage. Entry is via an access-friendly deck set amongst new and existing landscaping. The simple form is constructed in standard off the shelf timber framing that is carefully detailed to be expressed as an internal feature. Incorporation of energy efficient tube lighting into the cross section works the solution to the maximum architectural benefit. Externally FC horizontal cladding accentuates the length and feathers the corners. Continuous horizontal south glazing and the diffused clerestory lantern provide the interior with ample natural light and ventilation. The bright entry colour and architectural signage feature the entry and help landmark the building in the suburban setting.