UTS Blackfriars Children's Centre

DJRD | Lacoste + Stevenson | Architects in Association


The new UTS Blackfriars Children's Centre celebrates the beautifully naive depictions of housing by children. The Centre provides long day care for infants, toddlers and pre-school aged children. Each playroom is in the form of a house as might be drawn by a child; a box with a pitched roof, mimicking home in both scale and materiality.

The form of the centre is a series of small 'houses' continuously connected along the street, each varying slightly in pitch and scale to create an animated streetscape of pitched roofs. 

Materials evoke warmth, welcome and transparency. The external façade combines painted timber panelling with glazing. The gable roof ends are clad in translucent sheet that is illuminated from within. Colourful timber slats partially screen the internal 'street' from the public footpath. Large-format, historic photographs of past events of Blackfriars School connect the new centre to the site. 

The footprint of the new building completes the courtyard formed by the heritage buildings. Dimpled mirror polished panels clad the façades facing the heritage buildings. The effect is a playful dialogue of reflections between old and new.

The internal rooms are connected by an undulating plywood sensory wall that is thickened to contain storage, cubby spaces and reading nooks creating moments for children to learn and interact in spontaneous ways. 

Each playroom opens onto an outdoor play area ensuring indoor and outdoor spaces are seamlessly connected creating variety for the children and teachers to adapt to the day and to different activities.

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