Photography: Brett Boardman
Located on the western side of Coogee Oval, the original Seniors Centre was constructed in the 1950’s and was a modest face-brick building. The main hall had a steep skillion roof sloping down to the east and the oval. A lower roofed annex, that contained amenities and the original main entrance, faced Brook Street. There was no direct connection between the building and the oval due to a difference in floor and adjacent ground level.
The design by Melocco and Moore Architects seeks to open and connect the building to the oval to the east and also the northern landscaped area. Working within the original building footprint, the upper portions were removed and replaced with a new contemporary form that reaches out to the north and east, providing a covered interface to these adjacent external spaces. The roof was pitched at the height of the original brick parapet to Brook Street, to ensure minimal change to the mass and scale of the building and to maintain views from neighbouring buildings.
To resolve associated issues of connection, continuity and flooding, the internal floor level was raised to be on grade with the grassed area adjacent to the oval seating. Glazed sliding doors provide an easy connection between the hall and the adjacent external spaces. Operable high-level windows, a large central fan, radiant heating and energy efficient glazing, control thermal comfort. Rainwater storage in bladders within the subfloor space is used in amenities and irrigation.
The western annex of the building was reconfigured to house the pragmatic issues of the programme and incorporates amenities, storage and a new kitchen that addresses the main community space. The original entrance to Brook Street was removed and the multiple framed glazing was reinterpreted within the existing brick façade.
The entry sequence was modified to address the northern side of the building. This is accessed from Brook Street by a generous stair and an angled accessible ramp, which together, signify the new arrival point of the Centre.