Clarence Plains Child & Family Centre

Clarendon Vale

Status :

Completed 2011

Photography :

Jonathan Wherrett

Encompassing a number of outlying suburbs on the eastern shore of nipaluna / Hobart, the Clarence Plains district is spatially contained by a ring of rolling hills. The new Child and Family Centre provides the community with a range of integrated services that support families with the health, care and education needs of children from birth to five years.


The centre’s welcoming plan of two opposing arcs embraces and connects with the local primary school, residential precincts and other community facilities to reinforce the notion of a community hub. The facility straddles an existing council walkway to incorporate an existing building, refurbished to become the new Neighbourhood Centre.


The design re-works local materials and forms, providing a building with a familiar and recognisable language to the residents, somewhat akin to the home environment. The roof form creates a memorable expression which resonates with the surrounding topography.

The layout of the centre juxtaposes an open plan model with designated spaces, a communal ‘lounge’ separating child-oriented areas from education, counseling and administrative spaces.


The interior explores the concept of the ‘Big House’, configured as a continuous, flexible space of experiences which encourage children’s learning through imaginative play. This concept extends to the exterior play spaces, a dynamic relationship with the landscape forming an integral component of the facility.


A timber portal frame marches through the centre, supporting clerestory windows to provide light from above and a connection with the sky, shown to enhance child development and well being. A neutral colour and material palette forms a latent canvas for the children to embellish.


In association with PTA Architects.