Weeks to build
Hutchinson Builders undertook the $9.8M construction of The Habitat Early Learning Centre, located on a 1650m2 lot at 76 Bage Street, Nundah. Habitat Nundah was designed as a premier childcare facility for the inner northern suburbs of Brisbane. The centre accommodates 129 children, who are split into two curriculums: standard (mainstream) and Montessori. This three-level, architecturally designed building blends in well with the trendy neighbourhood. It includes dynamic first-class learning spaces perfectly suited to the Montessori and Emergent education curriculums. Particular attention has been paid to the selection of building finishes to enhance the aesthetic value of the environment and evoke curiosity as a provocation for learning.
The building features indoor and outdoor classrooms, five playgrounds, a private nursing space, office, doctors consulting room and function areas for the convenience of parents and academic staff. It also has an undercover car park with the main entrance allowing for safe and sheltered drop-off/pick-up points.
The centre was designed to allow for maximum natural light and air ventilation throughout with its generous ceiling heights. Positioned at the top of ‘the hill’ overlooking the suburbs and CBD, the design included a strong emphasis on views, especially from the foyer and top floor staff spaces. With regard to staff, our client requested that we provide a salubrious and inviting series of staff spaces, to assist them in attracting the best personnel to the centre.
In accordance with Montessori principles, internal and external spaces favour natural materials like timber and brick. The Montessori element also demanded that learning spaces have an enhanced connection to the natural world, which was achieved through a careful design of external play spaces by the landscape architects. In addition to the standard facilities required in childcares, the Habitat design offered many additional spaces that could be used by the children, their parents, and the wider community. This included a mothers room, a top-floor multipurpose room/deck with recording studio, and an interactive kitchen (with adjacent kitchen court and vegetable garden) to assist in the learning process.
Select building elements and materials were utilised in an effort to relate the building to its surrounding context and precinct; which included a church, a nunnery and a school. Simultaneously, the design aesthetic aimed to be slightly more ‘playful’ and child-focused, more so than a standard building, so children would instinctively feel less intimidated and more relaxed when at the centre.