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Work has begun on the Green Square Child Care Centre designed by Sydney architecture practice Fox Johnston in collaboration with CHROFI, Peter Stutchbury Architects, and landscape architect Craig Burton. An old hospital building is being modified to provide a 74-place early education and care centre for children aged 6 weeks to 6 years.

The City of Sydney Design Tender sought to transform the heritage-listed former Royal South Sydney Hospital nurses’ quarters and outpatients’ and administration buildings into a child care centre.

Fox Johnston’s design for the child care centre retains the integrity of the existing building, breathing new life into the structure by adding a contemporary wing and a wraparound external verandah that connects seamlessly to the new playspace.

The architects have created a design that will surprise and delight children as well as their carers, offering abundant opportunities to explore, get messy, play and learn in a safe, sustainable environment. Raised vegetable gardens, fruit tree groves, an outdoor kitchen and digging area, covered verandahs for passive play and craft, a natural verandah protected by large shade trees providing individual quiet spaces, and various avenues for physical activity are some of the design highlights.

Existing internal spaces have been adapted to create light-filled, open play rooms by modifying the roof cowls to bring natural light and ventilation into the spaces. Exposed trusses, taken from the design of the original Queens Post trusses, highlight the form of the existing building.

The Green Square Child Care Centre is also designed to showcase the potential of adaptive reuse for future sustainable developments, exhibiting the positive effects of dynamic, well-thought architecture on the children and carers of Sydney’s growing communities.

To be delivered in two stages, the project will provide a fully functioning 74-place childcare centre in Stage 1 while Stage 2 will expand the outdoor play area to provide additional space currently occupied by another building. The construction commenced in August 2015 and is expected to be completed in early 2017.