THE POCKET EARLY LEARNING CENTRE
MDFSTL Pty Ltd, Simon Fox
St Lucia, Brisbane QLD
Tender Issue (2018)
‘The Pocket’ is a 148 place, three level childcare centre that our team have taken from initial concept design through to tender documentation. The high profile centre in St Lucia aims to be a sought after early education facility while also referencing the clients previous childcare projects.
The brief for the proposal called for a ‘wow’ factor, with a vision to include an in-floor fish tank and particular focus on the external playscape design – a prominent feature along the main building facade. With such a steep site, and a height restriction of two storeys, it meant the bulk of the building was constrained to the high end of the site, with large podium balconies extending from each level. Panels of glass were used intermittently to break up the repetition and reduce overall bulkiness of the pronounced balustrading. The line of the external building angles its way across the site and also varies in depth throughout to draw the eye past the more uniform fenced façade.
The sloping and prominent corner site presented numerous challenges that were required to be carefully considered. The design needed to be sensitive towards the adjacent residential neighbours, whilst also cementing its presence amongst the retail development opposite. With such limited floor space, strict height constraints, and steep site levels, the design included an open basement carpark cut well into natural ground. It was paramount for the team be consistently co-ordinating with all sub-consultants to achieve the design intent of the initial concept.
Overall the design for the centre is respectful to its context and provides generous internal and external play spaces for use by the children. Natural materials were used to reference the immediate surroundings and also reflect the heritage of the wider inner-city suburb.