An Australian first for proposed community centre

A community hub and library in Melbourne’s north could become the first community centre in Australia to achieve both Passive House and Living Building Challenge “Petal” certification, according to its architects.

Glenroy Community Hub, designed by Designinc, has begun construction with the structural frame and section of the roof erected since February. It is expected to be completed by December 2021, according to the Moreland City Council.

The $30 million project will bring together Glenroy Library, the Glenroy Memorial Kindergarten, maternal and community health services, as well as neighbourhood learning and childcare facilities.

Designinc director Stephen Webb said the project would be an exemplar for sustainability with biophilic design values embedded in the structure.

“The design of the building focuses on reconnecting people with nature and providing natural experiences,” he said.

Project leader Kieran Leong said both the council and community had stressed their commitment to sustainability throughout the planning and consultation processes.

Glenroy Community Hub by Designinc.

“Every local council wants and should expect value for money from their projects, that is a given – but Moreland City Council set their sights higher, by expecting the project to be a catalyst for social change,” he said. “Through projects like this, Moreland City Council is showing true leadership in sustainable design.”

Passive House and Living Building Challenge are internationally recognized benchmarks that require the highest level of sustainable design, checked against stringent tests and auditing processes. The overall goal is that the centre will become self-sufficient within its site, for instance producing more energy than it uses.

Once complete, the community hub will have a focus on tackling disadvantage at the earliest age, offering positive pathways into education, health and wellbeing for residents, “especially those with the odds stacked against them.”

Although Glenroy is experiencing gentrification, it is still among the more socio-economically disadvantaged suburbs in Melbourne. Around a third of households are in the lowest income quartile, earning less than $624 per week and, according to Australian Early Development Census data, 30 per cent of children from Glenroy and adcacent Hadfield have some form of developmental delay when starting primary school.

Glenroy Community Hub by Designinc.

Designinc says that at the new centre, maternal and child health services will help nurture infants and their parents and an integrated day care centre and kindergarten will strengthen children’s skills and nurture healthy growth.

“Parents will encounter their community at the health centre, neighbourhood learning activities on site and at the community garden,” Designinc said. “Meetings and celebrations held by local groups in multipurpose spaces and the adjacent parkland will create a lively sense of neighbourhood and opportunity to get involved. Over time it is hoped that Glenroy’s new heart will foster a healthier, more capable and more cohesive community.”

The centre will be located in a parkland setting off Weathsheaf Road, by the Bridget Shortell Reserve. A landscaped forecourt arbour will provide public activity space, identity and transition from the reserve. “The transition continues into the building with internal landscaping, natural light and views and access to nature and garden experiences,” said the architects.

Source: Architecture - architectureau

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