Woods Bagot and interior designer Petrina Turner have transformed a decrepit Melbourne industrial warehouse into a new multi-use drop-in centre for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre organisation (ASRC).

The centre’s design and planning documentation came from Woods Bagot and Turner and was done completely pro bono. The materials for the fit out also came predominantly from donations, sourced by Woods Bagot and other supporters.

The centre is a multi-use space where the ASRC team has their offices, and where refugees and asylum seekers can come to get a meal, use computers, the kitchen and source donated food from the food bank. The ASRC also provides legal advice, education and training at the facility.

Woods Bagot called on their clients to lend a hand with the fit out which had an almost zero dollar budget. Workstations for the ASRC were supplied by the National Australia Bank (NAB) who recently relocated their offices to a new Woods Bagot building at 700 Bourke Street, while unused shelving was donated by DLA Piper whose offices were also recently revamped by Woods Bagot.

The centre was opened by former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and ASRC CEO Kon Karapanagiotidis on 10 December. Karapanagiotidis noted that the centre would be the world’s first one-stop-shop that focuses entirely on freeing asylum seekers from poverty, unlocking their potential and enabling them to work.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is a leading asylum seeker organization. It is multi-award winning, independent and receives no federal government funding, working in direct service delivery, assisting some of the most disadvantaged people in our community and advocate on behalf of all asylum seekers. Since 2001, the ASRC has assisted over 10,000 asylum seekers, providing in excess of 2.5 million hours of free assistance worth more than $200 million.

Images: Sean Fennessy and Woods Bagot.