‘The Connection – Rhodes’, designed by Crone Architects, has received the Award for Urban Design at the NSW Architecture Awards. 

According to the jury, “The Connection at Rhodes is a noteworthy example of next generation community building in a productive dialogue with the site and the surrounding public space. Each wing has an intimate way of relating to the external space and bayside location, encouraging privacy, porosity and prospect.” 

“A common palette of robust materials ties the whole site together into a single multi-dimensional community precinct. Its prospect enhances the waterfront promenade by creating a deck jutting out into the bay, offering a point of respite and contemplation as well as a social focal point around an external stepped auditorium.”

Crone commenced work on the 2,000sqm development after winning a competitive design process, responding to the City of Canada Bay’s brief to address a growing need for community facilities, services and active open spaces in the area to foster positive interaction between the diverse communities residing in Rhodes and neighbouring suburbs.

“We re-envisioned the community hall and civic space typology,” says Crone senior associate, Ashley Dennis. 

“Rather than proposing a single building, our design response distributes the program into four distinct pavilions, integrating the reorganisation of the public realm as part of the overall design. The pavilions house a variety of uses; an e-resource centre and learning space, digital gallery, multi-purpose and event space, community meeting rooms, training spaces, playgroups and a café/restaurant. These uses spill out onto the different outdoor areas around the site and the waterfront, enhancing community engagement and use of the public space by the community.” 

By separating the program, Crone opened up the site to pedestrian desire lines and created multiple interfaces between the internal and external themed environments and integrated public art. The buildings are arranged in such a way that they create an intimate central events and water-play space – a public square in continuous dialogue with all programs of the community precinct as well as the waterfront. This rich network has created an optimistic, playful, sustainable and more inviting public destination for the Rhodes community.