The dwp | design worldwide partnership-designed Oakleigh Recreation Centre (ORC) has been announced as the award winner for ‘Community Facility of the Year’ at Park and Leisure Australia’s (PLA) state (VIC/ TAS) 2021 Awards for Excellence.

Created for City of Monash Council and funded by State and Federal Governments, the Waverley Gymnastics Centre and the council, the $25.35 million facility was completed during the Victoria COVID-19 lockdown period late last year. The project significantly expanded the centre’s capabilities to host a range of sports, including gymnastics, basketball, netball, volleyball and badminton. It also ensured accessibility and comfortability through the provision of quality, fit-for-purpose all abilities facilities and change rooms.

The centre has five new indoor basketball courts, including a show court with a 3m x 5m video screen that will allow the facility to host unique events, retractable seating for 550 spectators, an upgraded gym and group fitness rooms. The former stadium section of the old centre is now a regional level home for the Waverley Gymnastics Centre.

dwp’s experience in creating sport and recreation facilities sees them manage the process from feasibility through to strategy and masterplanning, layout to interiors, with the ORC being no stranger to this. The practice endeavours to create designs that maximise broad appeal, flexibility of use, ease of access and encourage repeat patronage and also often include cafes, social areas, recreation and meeting places.

In redeveloping the Oakleigh Recreation Centre, the dwp team focused on various design principles including simplicity, flexibility and sustainability. The design thoughtfully connects the new and the existing assets and provides a strong identity that acknowledges the campus context and the DNA of the building. 

oakleigh recreation centre court

City of Monash Mayor Cr Brian Little says the local community is deserving of the upgraded facility. 

“Oakleigh Recreation Centre is an exceptional facility for those who enjoy participating in a range of sports and fitness opportunities. This wonderful asset really encourages the community to get involved, get active and get fit.”

Park and Leisure Australia’s state awards are held annually, and acknowledge the client satisfaction and design excellence of facilities through its prestigious Awards of Excellence.

The awards aim to properly recognise and champion the outstanding initiatives and innovative efforts of those who are involved in making these projects a reality, which promote good use of leisure time for a number of social, environmental and economic benefits to the community. The ORC itself was recognised for demonstrating innovative design, development and operation. 

oakleigh recreation centre gymnastics

Dion Gosling, dwp’s Sports and Recreation Sector Leader and former Olympian and Commonwealth Games silver medalist, says the project is proof of the practice’s commitment to creating sporting and recreation projects of the highest order.

“dwp is proud to have our project recognised by industry specialists and more importantly to have the quality of the project celebrated by the client. ORC is among many other outstanding community developments, particularly in the Sports and Recreation sector for which dwp continues to produce outstanding work.”

dwp’s David Huntley, Design Director of the ORC, says the recognition by the PLA is something the practice is honoured to receive.

oakleigh recreation centre entrance

‘'It is always fantastic to be acknowledged by our industry peers for our sport and recreation design excellence provided by dwp. This award is great recognition of our ability to resolve complex sporting community projects that really enhance community engagement and provide access to state of the art sporting facilities for the local community. We are proud of our ability to work collaboratively with our client, stakeholders, contractor and consultant team throughout the ongoing challenges of a global pandemic to deliver an outstanding sporting facility.”

As the winner of this state award, Oakleigh Recreation Centre will now go on to compete in the
upcoming national awards scheduled in September 2021.