From the architect:

A new community centre in the inner west of Sydney, designed by Sam Crawford Architects (SCA), connects to its local heritage area and provides much-needed spaces for the local community whilst revitalising a local suburban park.

Sam Crawford, Director of SCA, says: “The red bricks and terracotta roofs of the suburb were our inspiration for the materials, colours and forms of the new community centre in Hurlstone Park. It speaks to the character of these Federation buildings and interprets them in a contemporary way, making a special connection for local residents.”

“Previously an old lawn-bowls club sat on the site within Hurlstone Memorial Reserve Park, unloved and unused, reflecting changing demographics and community needs.

“The new pavilion is open for meetings, parties, talks and other functions, providing a valuable resource for the local community. Connectivity was our key design driver, directing both the form and layout of the building. 

“The soft Y shape allows multiple entry points, so the centre can be approached from the several different access points into the park. Its three curved sides feature large glass doors, allowing transparency, cross ventilation and accessibility.”

The layout also allows spaces around the building to be maximised for public use. Each side forms a sheltered courtyard that simultaneously allows active and passive recreational use by diverse groups. Circulation around the building is also facilitated so that no one side is the ‘back’ and therefore under-utilised.

Functioning as a sculptural landscape element, the pavilion shape minimises building mass, allows views through the building from different angles, whilst framing views from within to all areas of the park. The pavilion is lifted off the ground to manage drainage and to provide additional seating around the edge.

The sculpted red-metal roof form is pitched on its edges to create a sense of dynamism and arrival. Red perforated screens on the roof and undulating facade with clerestory windows create a lantern effect, offering views out and up, bringing light in, and promoting safety.

The 143 sqm pavilion features adaptable and accessible spaces - a community room and a covered outdoor area can be used independently or opened up into one space for larger functions via the large sliding glass doors. There is a kitchen and public toilet facilities.

The design features robust, durable building materials, low maintenance and minimal operational costs, passive design principles (minimising air conditioning and maximising solar), plus passive security. The internal and external colours (terracotta, pink, rouge, copper, cream, clay) resonate with the local heritage conservation area. Pink columns reference new plantings of angophoras and complement raw spotted gum timber panels. Bathroom finishes play on the colour and light of the surrounding landscape, whilst stainless steel fittings and fixtures were used externally for durability.

Inside a speckled rouge vinyl floor features a covered junction from floor to wall making it easy to clean. A blackbutt plywood band runs around the base of the room, its sturdy surface like a big skirting board to minimise damage from furniture movement by room hirers. Above the ply, a band of grey felt to clerestory window height allows people to decorate the space for functions. At night the pavilion gently glows in the dark.

The integration of the centre into the existing reserve has revitalised the park, and transformed a neglected space into a vibrant community hub. The centre provides a much-needed meeting space. This has fostered greater connectivity, encouraging social interactions and community engagement, enriching the quality of life for local residents.