i2C Architects has been appointed to design Greater Western Sydney’s new Vineyard community centre.
Said to be a first of its kind for Greater Sydney, the hub will take inspiration from its semi-rural surroundings and will draw on the best natural elements the region has to offer.
Located on the corner of McGrath and Windsor Roads, the lush regeneration site spans 6,400 square metres and will employ a highly considered approach to placemaking.
The two-level community hub is due to receive a childcare centre, community playground, a gym, a car park, two food and beverage outlets with an oversized alfresco area, and a myriad of open spaces for the public to enjoy.
According to i2C Project Designer Maryanne Daher, what is most intriguing about the community hub is not merely its amenities, but its ties to place and nature as it celebrates the site’s roots as a plant nursery.
“The vibrant, fantastical design response looked to the local surroundings and took inspiration from the likes of the Grounds of Alexandria to bring Vineyard its very own Instagram-worthy hub,” Daher said.
“Sydney’s CBD is bustling with family and youth-centric spaces for communities to congregate, but Vineyard and surrounding areas have not yet seen a space that keeps up with the residential developments in the area.”
“Given its location in Greater Sydney, the design plans had to respond to fire and flooding requirements, however, we didn’t want to compromise on bringing a whimsical feel to the centre. We envisage the space to have a character of its own; a true destination for locals and visitors,” she shared.
To drive a sense of place to the proposed development site commemoration was key in the design process, said Project Architect Dino Delotavo.
“The design looks to commemorate the site’s previous use, so we’ve chosen large man-made tree-like canopies, and working hand in hand with landscaping experts Lark Collective, these will be adorned with seasonal florals. Rustic and artistic walkways will nod to the site’s past with cascading vines and shapes within the outdoor walkways that are reminiscent of the nursery, like birds and butterflies,” Delotavo said.
From street view, passers-by will see barn-like structures, a welcoming reminder of the site’s former use.
Verdant biophilic design will be enjoyed by visitors and onlookers alike, with planted green walls providing vibrant pops of colour.
The nature-driven approach will be further exemplified with natural materials like charred timber and cobblestone being utilised throughout, and stained glass will feature sporadically.
The design is also driven by a sustainable approach to landscaping. A number of existing trees will be retained on the site, and where possible, plants will be native and endemic, and tree planting will be done on the street frontages in deep soil planting beds. This will provide habitat, species diversity and shading/cooling of pavement across the site.
The paving chosen for the project will be laid with locally sourced bricks, along with recycled hardwood timbers as feature elements.
Additionally, eco-friendly grass pavers have been selected over bitumen for the car park, which allows rainwater to permeate through the soil and prioritises green spaces over hard surfaces.
In parallel, innovative water-saving landscaping measures will see that external pathways and paving will be graded towards gardens, to utilise runoff where possible.
Utilising water-wise native plants that are suited to the Hawkesbury growing conditions will be key in sustaining the low-maintenance landscape.
Safety was also a key consideration in the design, with children’s play spaces distanced from car parking and residential spaces and raised recreation areas given priority for both the effect of presence and flooding necessities.