Coburg Early Years Centre
The Coburg Children’s Centre is a careful adaption of Pentridge G Division. The original building, on the Victorian Heritage Register, was constructed in 1875 as part of the notorious Pentridge Gaol Complex for specific use as a female reformatory facility. The building was a symmetrically planned and differentiated from the predominant Pentridge bluestone construction by use of red brick on a bluestone plinth with feature contrasting yellow bricks to external openings and corners.
The Coburg Centre comprised 5 rooms for 120 childcare places with associated outdoor play areas, administration and support spaces as well as Maternal Child and Health (MCH) facilities. Accommodating this program on a the tightly constrained site necessitated additional building area interconnected with the G division structure.
The success of this conversion of G Division relies on maintaining the ability to interpret the at times, grim social and cultural heritage of the building whilst at the same time, create a nurturing environment for children, staff and visitors.
The unique history and architectural detailing is strongly reflected in the use and detail of new external masonry walls, articulated through orientation, size, colour, texture and articulated setbacks between surfaces.
photography Drew Echberg