Guymer Bailey Architects

Design differences between American and Australian Correctional Facilities

Brisbane based Associate Craig Blewitt has recently returned from a study tour of the USA, Mexico, UK and Germany. During the tour, Craig visited correctional and court facilities in the USA, supplier factories and showrooms in the US, Mexico and UK; and attended the ISH trade show in Germany.

Written by Craig Blewitt

I recently had the privilege of being invited to join a correctional study tour through the USA, Mexico, UK and Germany. While there were many highlights along the way, the biggest takeaway for me from the trip was the contrast in design of correctional facilities in the USA – not only with what we do here in Australia – but between individual American facilities that are located within a few hours’ drive of each other.

Despite working in the correctional design space for more than a decade, I have to admit that I left Australia with the preconceived notion of American correctional facilities that you see on TV and in movies. I was both pleasantly surprised and greatly shocked by what I saw.

The two correctional centres I visited in the US were both County Jails – which are essentially the equivalent of Australian remand and reception centres.

In the USA, prisoners remanded into custody are typically housed in a correctional centre operated by the local county. If a prisoner is found guilty, they will generally remain in county run facilities if their sentence is less than 12 months.

With over 3,000 counties across the USA, that results in a vast range of different design and operational approaches for correctional facilities – and the two facilities I visited potentially represent the two extremes in design and operational approach.

Las Colinas Women’s Correctional Centre

Photo Source: Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College

Photo Source: Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College

The Las Colinas Detention and Re-entry Facility has a maximum capacity of 1,270 female prisoners and is the primary county jail for women in San Diego County. Of the two facilities I visited, this was closest to the Australian approach to the design of correctional centres.

The facility has an open campus style masterplan, which de-stresses the external environment within the complex. The main street links key support services and stretches from the Gatehouse to the Multi-Faith building at the rear of the site. The accommodation is arranged in communities of different scales and classifications around the perimeter of the site.

The minimum security accommodation is dormitory style where each prisoner has a cubicle with a bed, desk, wardrobe and TV. Similar accommodation styles have recently been tested in the recent rapid-build facilities in NSW with up to 25 inmates per unit.

At Las Colinas there are up to 60 prisoners in each unit, however, rather than housing them in one large room, the accommodation is separated over two levels to provide zones of privacy within the communal space; with a central double height communal living area in the centre.

Photo Source: KMD Architects

Photo Source: KMD Architects

The materials used within the accommodation buildings are simple, yet through thoughtful selection create a sense of warmth and calmness. The timber grain of the joinery units and doors, variation in colour and texture, provision of natural light, domestic style furniture and the use of large scale landscape imagery converts what could be a stark and institutional environment into a relaxed and welcoming space.

Photo Source: Vanir Construction Management, Inc.

Photo Source: Vanir Construction Management, Inc.

In a departure to the ‘on unit’ dining approach used in Australian facilities, the Los Colinas centre used a large central meal hall with scheduled meal times for each accommodation unit. This approach removes the need for transportation of meals across the site, but conversely requires the movement of prisoners to the meal hall, which may pose larger operational challenges.

While the environment of the meal hall facilitates greater communal interaction between inmates, it conversely removes the rehabilitative benefits of normalising daily routines through self-catering units.

Photo Source: Vanir Construction Management, Inc.

Photo Source: Vanir Construction Management, Inc.

During the tour, we stopped at the on-site coffee shop, which is staffed by prisoners and serves both staff and prisoners. Speaking to the barista, we heard an inspiring story of how the design and opportunities provided within the Los Colinas facility created a rehabilitative environment. She spoke about how the program had changed her life – she came into prison not having finished high school and was going to leave in a few weeks with a hospitality management qualification and a goal of setting up her own coffee shop.

East County Detention Centre

Photo Source: Clark Constructions

Photo Source: Clark Constructions

The East County Detention Centre (ECDC) is a high-density multi-level correctional centre located within the downtown area of Indio, California. The design of the ECDC facility has several substantial differences to what we do in Australia, which made the visit to the nearly complete facility quite an eye-opener.

One of the primary differences in the design at ECDC compared to Australian facilities was the density of the accommodation. Once complete, ECDC will house approximately 1500 prisoners within a 3.75-hectare site – which equates to 25sqm of the site per inmate.

By means of comparison, the Metropolitan Remand & Reception Centre in NSW has approx. 115sqm of site area per prisoner and the Ravenhall Correctional Centre in Victoria has approx. 230sqm per prisoner.

The density of the site is achieved through double bunking of all cells, employing a radial design and increasing the height of the cell blocks to eight levels. The compromise to achieve the density of the site is the provision of limited outdoor space and the removal of access to natural light from internal prisoner spaces.

Each of the accommodation towers has four double storey accommodation units (eight storeys in total), each featuring six accommodation pods with 16 bunk bed cells opening onto a dayroom. Rather than having internal service ducts between cells, or an external catwalk around the outside of the building, the design provides a continuous service corridor around the outside of the building – which means none of the cells has an external window.

As the cells are located around the outside of the building, the dayrooms also have no access to natural light or ventilation. They are dim, stark spaces that rely on overhead artificial lighting. The only access to natural light and natural ventilation provided to prisoners is the few hours per week they are allowed into one of the exercise yards. These ‘yards’ have a high-level glimpse of the sky but are otherwise no different to the dayrooms.

Photo Source: HOK

Photo Source: HOK

The other revelation was the system employed for visits. Rather than having a contact visits hall, or even a series of non-contact visits booths, the centre relies on video conference links between visitor booths located off the main foyer, and screens located in the accommodation dayrooms.

While several Australian jurisdictions exploring the idea of higher density, multi-storey accommodation, the compromises to natural light, outdoor space, programs and visits facilities that were made to achieve the accommodation density at ECDC would be a step backwards from the rehabilitative correctional environments that have been developed across Australia in the last few decades.

* Craig attended the correctional study tour as a guest of AVAC Australia.

About the Author

Craig Blewitt is one of our most experienced correctional architects, managing all correctional and justice projects in our Brisbane Studio and assisting on the large correctional projects managed by our Melbourne Studio.

Brisbane Celebrates 30 years of Guymer Bailey!

You saw how Melbourne celebrated 30 years of Guymer Bailey, now let's see how our Brisbane Studio marked this important milestone.

The Brisbane event was held at Bougainvillea House at Howard Smith Wharves where we enjoyed fantastic views of the city and the Story Bridge as we mingled with more than 120 of our valued clients, consultants and business associates.

Our large GBA #30 sign lit the way in green and guests were welcomed with drinks, delicious canapés and music from Guymer Bailey's own Steve Fisher as part of the Steve and Andre Duo.

The live Sushi Chef kept us fed and entertained throughout the evening with his culinary skills that have been passed down through multiple generations. We were also fortunate to have the artistically talented Pat Giles from our Melbourne studio, who did remarkable caricatures of guests.

Our MC, Gerrard Gosens, shared his inspiring story as a blind Paralympic runner and adventurer and introduced Directors, Phil Jackson and Kavan Applegate, who honoured our founders Tim Guymer and Ralph Bailey in their speech. Phil and Kavan also spoke about their experiences as directors over the last thirteen years and the exciting recent developments that include the launch of Guymer Bailey Interiors and Guymer Bailey Landscape in Melbourne.

Here is a quote of Phil's speech at the event.

"The practice has always been born from a connection between architecture and the place in which it sits, and Tim and Ralph instilled this sense of design responsibility into every project, which we continue on today. Thank you to you both for your knowledge, dedication, and humour. We'd also like to thank Paul who retired as director a year ago, for his contribution to the practice also.

We are so passionate about design that makes a difference in people's lives - sustainable designs that help to rehabilitate and to educate. And with so much of our work being around rehabilitative secure facilities, we are conscious that prevention is always better than a cure. Now more than ever, we are confident in our path forward together with you all as a practice, with a firm belief in the ability of design to provide a positive influence in all our lives."

From all of us here at Guymer Bailey we would like to thank you for your ongoing support, whether you are:

  • A client we love working with

  • A contractor that brings our designs to life

  • A specialist consultant that works through the intricacies with us

  • A hard-working member of our amazing team

  • A partner, family member or friend that supports us on this journey

We've included a gallery of photos from the night below, but also check out our Facebook page for more photos, please feel free to tag yourself!

Construction Commences on Olympic Village Primary School

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Construction has begun on the Olympic Village Primary School in Heidelberg West, close to Melbourne CBD, after receiving confirmation that funding was allocated in the 2018 state budget for the full realisation of their masterplan. This is incredibly exciting for the community who thought the school was going to close entirely.

The local community, which has a rich history as the location of the athletes’ village for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, has become highly disadvantaged since then which is reflected in the school’s enrolment figures which currently stand at 86 students. The school’s facilities have fallen below an acceptable standard in recent years and were assessed by Guymer Bailey Architects to help build the case for the replacement of the school.

With 45% of students coming from non-English speaking backgrounds, 20% of students being Koorie and 10% eligible for additional funding through the Program for Students with Disabilities, social justice was a central theme for this project. It was a strong motivation of Olympic Village Primary School to ensure that those who are the most disadvantaged at home, are not disadvantaged at school.

Building a community for learning

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The other present theme that influenced the design of the masterplan was the desire to create a ‘community for learning’. The school is to become a place that encourages students to strive academically and socially. A place where all, no matter their differences, come together to collaborate and learn. Much like the ethos of the Olympics, people coming together and striving to be better. In the architectural language of the project, this transfers into the idea of a village.

Classrooms, the multi-purpose hall, entrance foyer and staff lounge are represented as individual homes to create a sense of place and foster a feeling of security and warmth. These homes open onto internal covered streets that are shared spaces in the design and promote social interaction and collaboration while also allowing for discreet spaces to sit and retreat. These discreet spaces also facilitate the equity and remediation programs for ‘at risk’ students within the school structure.

Olympic Village Outdoor 01.jpg

The educational village is arranged around a village green or village heart which all buildings open onto, creating a focal point and providing legibility to the layout. The scale of the house and street emphasises the human scale, stimulating belonging and comfort within the students.

Creating flexible learning opportunities

Classrooms are clustered in groups of three around a central common space to promote shared teaching options between classes and flexible learning opportunities. All classrooms have the option to be opened up to this common breakout space, but also have doors to allow for separation if a more orderly learning environment is required for a particular class or activity.

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Each classroom also has an individual discrete outdoor learning area, which can be utilised for larger groups, smaller specialist learning or students who are experiencing frustration and need time away from the class while remaining under the supervision of their teacher.

Ensuring student safety and security

Greater safety and security for students was a key objective addressed through the design of the masterplan. New fencing and one central access point have been proposed to create a safer learning environment where all visitors are required to enter through the administration. A drive through kiss-and-drop-zone will also allow for safer management of school drop off with the new entry providing a strong visual from the street to assist with wayfinding.

To maximise toilet supervision and minimise the potential for bullying, toilets can be accessed from inside during class time and outside during breaks. Passive supervision is also maximised by placing the principal’s office, staff lounge and staff workspace on the eastern side of the building facing into the village heart.

A leading learning environment

The new school will also include a staff centre that is a single shared staff workspace designed to help staff work together in the planning, delivery, assessment and reporting of learning to support teacher development.

A multipurpose space that can be accessed from both inside and outside of school grounds will also be created for school and community use. This versatile space features a kitchen, which will house community programs like the breakfast and homework club.

And last, but certainly not least, a new library located at the centre of the classroom cluster will be built. The library provides a third break out space while also serving as the connection from the discrete classroom courtyards to the north and the village heart to the south.

There is no question that the changes will make a significant impact on the learning opportunities for students at the Olympic Village Primary School and the Heidelberg community at large. Having been involved in the design of the project we’re overjoyed to see construction commence.

Need to design an extension, redevelopment or renovation for your school or education facility? Contact us today on 07 3870 9700 (Brisbane) or 03 8547 5000 (Melbourne). You may also like to view our other education projects.

Changes in playground design

By Rob Waddell

Significant changes have been happening in playground design over the last few years due to greater recognition around the health and cognitive benefits of play, a strong desire to get children active and outside, and modifications to playground safety standards that acknowledge the benefit of graduated challenges which teach children how to manage risk.

Out of all of the changes, we have found three key trends are emerging, and these are influencing the design of playgrounds both nationally and internationally.

1. Unlocking imagination through theming

Photography by Scott Burrows

Photography by Scott Burrows

With the introduction of video games and tablets, there is no question that the way a child plays and interacts with the world has changed.

Twenty years ago outdoor play was a way of life for us; we would disappear for hours on end building forts, riding bikes and playing sports. But now, with so much entertainment and stimulation available indoors, greater incentive to switch from screen time to green time is needed.

This has seen a rise in playground themes to evoke the imaginations of children, allowing spaces to be interpreted and used in a number of different ways to create a unique play experience for each child.

One example of this is the Frew Park Arena Play Structure Guymer Bailey Landscape designed. Built on the grounds where the iconic Milton tennis stadium once stood in Brisbane, its theme ‘deconstruction’ honours the history of the site with play precincts that reflect stadium spaces.

The grandstand is brought to life with large precast concrete panels of varying heights and angles, and it even features a commentary box – a steel-mesh box suspended eight metres above the ground, to offer greater thrill to playground goers.

2. Getting back to nature

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With many children experiencing nature deficit disorder not being able to play in the creek, squish mud in between their fingers and toes, climb trees and get dirty in play, there is a growing demand to create this experience within the playground environment.

This is particularly important for kindy children who benefit from the sensory experience nature play can produce.

From mud pits and water play to sitting on logs around a fire pit, roasting marshmallows for story time, nature play experiences allow children to enjoy the beauty and simplicity of nature, and hopefully inspire a deep love for the outdoors.

The key to nature play is to make it authentic using as many raw materials as possible. There are many plastic replicas available, but they do not create the same experience for children. Nature play areas should also be flexible, allowing for a wide variety of activities, sensory experiences and individual play interpretations – such as logs that can be used for sitting, standing or balancing on.

3. Creating a call to adventure

Photography by Scott Burrows

Photography by Scott Burrows

While as children we were quite adventurous in our play, as a society in recent years we have been more cautious, preventing children from taking the same risks as we did. While these intentions are noble, in that we don’t want children hurt, what we have failed to realise is that we are preventing children from learning key life lessons through play.

Research has proven time and time again that there are significant benefits when children are exposed to risk.

Adventurous or more challenging play allows children to identify their strengths and limitations, manage risk and fear and develop courage and confidence in their abilities – all fundamental life skills that are needed into adulthood.

These findings have resulted in modifications to the Australian playground safety standards that allow playground designs to greater challenge children and expose them to managed risk, where previous standards were inhibiting their form of play.

Challenges at height including climbing walls, nets, ropes, tunnels, barriers, slopes, sliding poles, swings and flying foxes can all create greater playground challenges for children that allow them to get a better sense of risk and themselves. By being more adventurous in playground design while also keeping in mind age and ability, we can provide children with greater life skills.

Does your kindy, school or community playground need an upgrade to create more imaginative and challenging play? Talk to our specialist playground designers today on 07 3870 9700 (Brisbane) or 03 8547 5000 (Melbourne).

About the Author

Rob Waddell is the Principal Landscape Architect at Guymer Bailey Architects. With extensive experience in designing landscape architecture for the community and education sectors, Rob has a proven track record of designing award-winning outdoor areas that capture the hearts and imaginations of children and enrich the experiences of the local community. With a keen interest in exploring the relationship between natural and built environments, Rob develops high-quality design outcomes that prioritise placemaking and people-centred design that works in harmony with the natural environment.

Q&A with our newest Associate, Craig Blewitt

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It is with excitement that we announce that Senior Architect, Craig Blewitt, has recently been promoted to Associate.

Craig is one of our most experienced correctional architects, managing all correctional and justice projects in our Brisbane Studio and assisting on the large correctional projects managed by our Melbourne Studio. He is also the resident “door guru”, assisting with door and hardware scheduling across all of our correctional projects.

Warmly known in the Studios for his love of a good secure lock and a spreadsheet, ability to string together puns, and a passion for rehabilitative design, to celebrate his promotion we thought we would sit down for a chat with Craig to find out what he loves most about architecture and his views on correctional design.

Q: What do you love most about architecture?

I enjoy the collaboration process between architects, landscape architects, interior designers, engineers, consultants, builders and contractors during the design and construction process.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I love witnessing the transition from paper to built form – seeing a project through from concept to completion.

Q: How many years’ experience have you had in the industry?

I’ve been working in the construction industry for over 12 years now, with nearly a decade spent toiling on correctional and justice projects.

Q: Tell us a little about your work in corrections, what makes you specialise in this area?

I kind of just fell into the corrections field. I worked on a project during university, and I haven’t looked back. The more I’ve worked on correctional projects, the more I’ve grown to love the complexity of these projects and the variety of building types. I’ve developed a passion for designing well-considered spaces that promote rehabilitation.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself and what do you do when you are not busy designing or jet-setting around?

I don’t have much time away from work at the moment, but the bright side is that I can pretty much recite the Virgin safety demonstration verbatim.

Hopkins Correctional Centre in Ararat. Photography by Scott Burrows

Hopkins Correctional Centre in Ararat. Photography by Scott Burrows

Q: Is there a stand out project you have worked on?

The Hopkins Correctional Centre in Ararat is probably the standout project for me. Partly because it’s the first correctional project that I had a leadership role on, and partly because of the well-publicised contractual issues, that took the challenges of the project to a whole other level.

Q: What has been the most memorable moment of your career?

Being asked by a builder whether they needed to remove the lumps of plaster on a floor slab before installing the flooring. But more seriously, attending the official opening of the Hopkins Correctional Centre, a project that I worked on full-time for close to six years, including relocating to Ararat for two years on site.

Q: Where do you see correctional design heading in the future?

With the prisoner population growing across Australia, it’s vital that the current and future design of prisons have a greater focus on rehabilitation through educational and behavioural programs, the development of work and social skills, and increased opportunities for family connection.

To be truly effective, the rehabilitative programs need to extend beyond the walls of correctional centres to provide post-release facilities that continue to support prisoners in the years immediately following their release when the risk of recidivism is at its highest.

A word from the Directors

Directors.PNG

Having designed many of Australia’s most innovative correctional projects including the $200 million Hopkins Correctional Centre expansion and the multi-award winning $670 million Ravenhall Prison Project, at Guymer Bailey we know the importance of rehabilitative design and the need for secure environments need to be normalised as much as possible, to make the transition out of the prison system is easier.

Craig’s promotion and management of correctional projects is a crucial step in achieving our vision to ‘design a better world’ through rehabilitative correctional design as we work with academic researchers to ensure our design solutions are evidence-based and best-practice.

Why sustainability is needed in schools

Photography by Scott Burrows

Photography by Scott Burrows

By Phil Jackson

With greater demands to decrease costs, and a desire to minimise environmental impact, improve efficiency and increase student learning and performance, schools are starting to recognise the need to become more sustainable.

But with many principals, boards and P&F committees balancing multiple needs, there is often a focus on short-term costs and savings, which can create more resistance around the long-term move towards greater sustainability.

To help you shift your perspective, I’ll explore three reasons why sustainability is needed in schools and how it can give your school and students a greater competitive edge.

1. Improve performance with greater comfort and air quality

Photography by Scott Burrows

Photography by Scott Burrows

While many schools install air-conditioning for the comfort of students and teachers, what most staff members and P&F committees are unaware of is that the quality of air can be dramatically affected. In air-conditioned environments more Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is present in the air, affecting the cognitive ability and learning capability of students in the classroom.

It’s a conundrum, isn’t it? We put students into classrooms and exam rooms that are air-conditioned for their comfort only to create the worst possible air quality for them to perform and compete against other schools in.

The good news is that through sustainable initiatives both the comfort and air quality of classrooms can be improved. While there are times when air-conditioning must be used, there are times when air-conditioning could be minimised through the use of a more effective passive ventilation design (like using louvres) that will allow greater fresh air and breezes through the classroom.

Do measures like this make an impact, you might ask? A study done by the United States Environmental Protection Agency that examined the costs and benefits of green schools for Washington State estimated a 15% reduction in absenteeism and a 5% increase in test scores.

2. Minimise costs and reduce inefficiency

Photography by Scott Burrows

Photography by Scott Burrows

With air-conditioning seen as a necessity, little thought or planning can go into the ongoing cost and maintenance of systems. Energy bills can skyrocket, particularly when there is little education or incentive around minimising air-conditioning use in classrooms.

By linking both passive ventilation methods and air-conditioning to both a smart (automatically switches between passive ventilation, assisted ventilation, or air-conditioning based on settings) and manually controlled system, staff and students can become more conscious of their decision to use air-conditioning within the classroom. The installation of a CO2 monitor (Australian Geographic has a weather system that measures CO2 levels) can also be a valuable teaching tool to show the air quality of each classroom when the air-conditioning is on.

Schools can further encourage more sustainable thinking through the use of incentives, offering a reward to the class who uses air-conditioning the least throughout the term.

A holistic site approach that considers the use of shading, solar power, and LED lighting can also further reduce costs.

3. Boost student engagement with different teaching environments

Photography by Scott Burrows

Photography by Scott Burrows

Photography by Scott Burrows

Photography by Scott Burrows

While children thrive in routine, even their performance can be impacted by working in the same environment all of the time. By creating outdoor classroom environments, teachers and students can venture outside when the weather allows for different learning opportunities.

This not only boosts student engagement, but it also minimises costs of lighting and air-conditioning while providing greater connection to the landscape and better working conditions.

One example of the outdoor classroom idea is the Kimberley College Flexible Learning Area we designed.

Combining adaptable indoor learning spaces with flexible outdoor spaces that are large enough for full class groups, students are given many varied opportunities for interaction, performance, collaboration and connection to nature. The feedback from these outdoor classrooms and others like it have been overwhelmingly positive, with teachers and students both saying they are a pleasure to work in.

Schools that are making sustainability part of their governance are not only reaping the benefits of minimised costs and greater student engagement and performance; they are also addressing one of our greatest social challenges by empowering the next generation to be more environmentally minded.

About the Author

Phil Jackson is a Director of Guymer Bailey Architects and has a passion for sustainable design outcomes and the integration of architecture and landscape. From conception through to construction he ensures the delivery of outstanding projects and satisfied clients through open communication and enthusiasm for every project.

The importance of nature play in childcare

By Rob Waddell

There are many health benefits connected to nature play from cognitive, social and emotional development, to the building of resilience and creativity. But nature play is still not incorporated as much as it should be in childcare playground design.

If you’re yet to incorporate nature play in your childcare centre or kindy play area, here are five reasons why you should reconsider your approach.

1. Unscripted play increases imagination

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Children from a young age can experience a lot of structure to their lives, and while an element of structure and routine is needed for their happiness and wellbeing, too much structure, particularly around play, can stifle creativity.

Without being given prompts or recognisable play equipment, children are able to activate their imaginations, create stories, and be more likely to explore their environment.

At Guymer Bailey Landscape we believe in increasing the opportunities for children to enjoy more unstructured play outdoors and in nature, and were recently given the opportunity to bring this philosophy to life through the design of the new nature play space at Bellbowrie Kindy.

“In a world where children are constantly being told what to do, here was an opportunity to provide an unscripted play space that would foster imagination, creative thinking, and investigation.”
— Pam Niven, Kindergarten Teacher and Coordinator at Bellbowrie Kindy

Our team, in partnership with kindergarten teacher and coordinator, Pam Niven, and in consultation with parents and children at the Bellbowrie Kindy, created a space that consists of a number of features to encourage hours of unscripted play. These include:

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  • A natural watercourse fuelled by a water pump to allow kids to control the flow of water down the creek

  • Mudpits and digging mounds

  • Barefoot garden paths around a forest of natural totem poles

  • Log bridges, balance beams and stepping stones,

  • Scented and flowering native plants

  • Pottery garden

  • Yarning circle centred on a fire pit to introduce to children the indigenous concept of storytelling in an organic way

2. Getting dirty leads to happy exploration

Children need to be active and have the opportunity to run around and be happy playing outside. Worrying about stains and getting dirty only limits their play and can lead to guilt around activities that they find are fun and exciting.

Children who are given the time and opportunity to get dirty and explore, discover their world, and how things work. This exploration boosts their social, physical and creative skills, which can be well worth the extra washing.

3. Challenges teach resilience and risk management

“Children need the opportunity to develop their resilience through challenges”
— Pam Niven, Kindergarten Teacher and Coordinator at Bellbowrie Kindy
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The single-minded focus on injury prevention through risk elimination that the playground industry has had in recent decades, has been found to be detrimental to children by ignoring their need to learn how to manage risk themselves.

Changes to the Australian Standards last year reflected this shifting emphasis and recognised that the downsides of risks should be balanced against the very real benefits of incorporating meaningful graduated challenges for children to explore and test their capacities and limitations.

The Bellbowrie Kindy nature play space embraces this realisation, in the hope that even at the kindergarten age, we can set a course for stronger, better-equipped and more resilient future citizens.

4. Enlivening sensory experiences

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Nature play is a great way to engage all seven senses being sight, smell, touch, hearing, taste, vestibular (sense of balance) and proprioception (sense of body awareness in space). This is incredibly important when you consider sensory play has been proven to support fine and gross motor skills, cognitive growth, problem-solving skills and language and social development.

The design of the Bellbowrie Kindy nature play space has created an environment that enhances and enlivens the children’s sensory experience and importantly, at the same time, provides inclusion and engagement for those experiencing sensory impairment or disability.

5. Creating environmental awareness

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“We want to develop a love of nature that will help carry them through the rest of their lives”
— Pam Niven, Kindergarten Teacher and Coordinator at Bellbowrie Kindy

Perhaps one of the most underrated benefits of nature play is that it can also develop an environmental awareness and appreciation, which can create a concept of stewardship later in life. A legacy worth leaving our children.

Could your kindy or childcare centre benefit from more nature play? Talk to our specialist playground designers today on 07 3870 9700 (Brisbane) or 03 8547 5000 (Melbourne).

About the Author

Rob Waddell is the Principal Landscape Architect at Guymer Bailey Architects. With extensive experience in designing landscape architecture for the community and education sectors, Rob has a proven track record of designing award-winning outdoor areas that capture the hearts and imaginations of children and enrich the experiences of the local community. With a keen interest in exploring the relationship between natural and built environments, Rob develops high-quality design outcomes that prioritise placemaking and people-centred design and work in harmony with the natural environment.

Brisbane Art Show Recap

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The GBA Brisbane Studio came alive in a burst of colour for our annual Brisbane Pop Up Art Show fundraiser for Hear and Say that was held on LOUD Shirt Day, a national community initiative to raise funds so that children affected by hearing loss can live life loudly.

The annual community event showcased an incredible range of artwork created by the GBA Brisbane team and incredible local artists that included calligraphy, drawings, paintings, prints, photography, collage, glass, jewellery, sculptures and watercolours.

The art, along with live music, cheese and wine and a very special junk jam musical item from the team kept guests entertained as we raised $2,800 on the night for Hear and Say.

Phil Jackson, Director of Guymer Bailey Architects, said the Annual Art show is a proud tradition which has been running for six years.

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“Hear and Say is a wonderful not-for-profit organisation that assists children and young adults who experience hearing loss. The Annual Art show has been a proud tradition of ours to help raise much-needed funds for Hear and Say, so children and families can continue to get the highest standard of clinical care.”
— Phil Jackson, Director of Guymer Bailey Architects

Jim Green from Hear and Say who attended the event said,

“Hear and Say were delighted to be the beneficiaries of the 2018 Guymer Bailey Art Show. This unique Loud Shirt Day event is now into its sixth year and provides the perfect excuse to get dressed up in your best and brightest to support children who are deaf or hard of hearing. We would like to thank the team at Guymer Bailey and all the artists and attendees whose magnificent support has raised much-needed funds to give the gifts of sound and speech to children with hearing loss.”
— Jim Green, Hear and Say

Of course, a night like this doesn’t happen without some amazing and generous sponsors! We would like to thank the following businesses who donated our fantastic raffle prizes:

  • Corporate Information Systems (CIS) - Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8" with Toshiba 32GB MicroSD card

  • ARCPANEL - Weekend Getaway to Noosa

  • BRITEX - 2 x Premium Broncos tickets to any game and a $150 restaurant card

  • Webforge - Grandfather Solera Rare Tawny Port 20 years

  • Bondor - $100 Dymocks voucher

  • ALSPEC - $100 Indooroopilly voucher

  • CASF Surfaces - $100 BWS voucher

  • POLYFLOR - $100 Myer voucher

  • AWS - $50 Event Cinemas voucher and $50 Restaurant Choice voucher

  • KINGSPAN - $100 Gift voucher

  • ALLEGION - Schlage Sense Deadbolt

  • GWA - Clark Shower Screen Hook and a Pinot Noir

  • mLIGHT - Gourmet food hamper

  • Light and Design Group - Champagne and chocolates

Also, thanks to Zip Water for providing a shiny new Zip Hydro Tap! We can now enjoy sparkling water on tap and were able to provide our guests with a ‘plastic bottle free’ zone.

Even if you missed the Art Show, you can still donate! Click here to help children and young adults who are experiencing hearing loss continue to get the highest standard of clinical care.

For more images from our Brisbane Art Show head to our Facebook page.

Designing California Lane

California Lane is an exciting new laneway precinct that has opened behind popular Brunswick Street in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. The laneway, which is an extension of the Bakery Lane and Winn Lane developments, aptly incorporates retro elements from the nostalgic years of California.

With plans for California Lane started in 2013 by Guymer Bailey Architects, to celebrate the completion of this great new Brisbane addition we thought we would chat with Arthur Apostolos, from the family behind the Lanes, and talk about their vision and the design journey of California Lane.

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The inspiration

What was the inspiration behind the design of California Lane?

“With California Lane, we wanted to add to our existing laneways that include Bakery Lane and Winn Lane and create a laneway with its own point of difference that would blend the heritage of the existing buildings with the context and history of the laneway.

In this case, the context was that our father owned the California Café, once located at Carroll’s Corner in Brunswick Street. He took it over in 1961 and had it for 45 years. This became the inspiration behind the design and the name of the laneway.”

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The vision

What is your vision for the laneways?

“The laneways have been designed to represent the greater context of Brisbane, in that it’s a place where you can be yourself. The Valley has always been a place for everyone, rich or poor, successful or not successful, creative or not creative, the Valley has never distinguished between a type of person, and the laneways are the same.

We’re not targeting a specific demographic; anyone can go there who enjoys what’s on offer and what’s on offer is something Brisbane hasn’t had until now, a place where small independent retailers that are Brisbane unique can do business in a distinctively Queensland heritage setting.”

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The design

California Lane had quite the design evolution from where it started, how has it changed?

“California Lane was originally scheduled for construction at the same time as Bakery Lane; however, it was pushed back as Bakery Lane became quite a large project. As a result, the design naturally evolved over this time.

We moved away from the initial civic culvert and shipping container concept and settled on a traditional structure in the shape of a container to be in line with the 1960s theme. The Valley was in its heyday during the 1950’s, and 1960’s, so we wanted to borrow aspects that captured that era in colours, materials, features and finishes as well as in the tenancies that run down the lane.

The civic culverts that originally featured on one side of the laneway were stripped back to create an alfresco area for tenants, allowing customers to linger and enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere of California Lane with its palm trees, pastel walls and neon signs.”

What is your favourite part of the design?

“My favourite part of the design besides the colours and fresh feel is the fact that California Lane is so narrow. Bakery Lane has a courtyard, Winn Lane is hippy and eclectic, and California Lane is a narrow laneway that connects all the way through to Ann Street, having the potential to be a thoroughfare like a traditional laneway.”

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The result

Designed to achieve the delicate balance of business and pleasure and provide a haven for pedestrian traffic, the highly anticipated laneway showcases emerging brands and trendy boutiques among exquisite cafes, bars and eateries, to create an ideal spot for dining in style.

As we’re sure you can appreciate, reading about California Lane is one thing, but experiencing it for yourself is quite another. If you live in Brisbane or are due to visit, we encourage you to take a stroll back in time and enjoy the vintage West Coast vibes and fantastic food that California Lane is soon to be known for.

STUDENT WORK | NEW GRADUATE JUSTINE LENKIEWICZ

At the end of last year we showcased some of our students work - one of which was Justine Lenkiewicz from our Melbourne office. Fast forward 6 months, and Justine has recently completed her Master of Architecture. 

Agenda
Jack’s Magazine is an utterly unnatural, man-made terrain caught between the threshold of passive suburbia and organic natural landscape. This thesis will explore the site as a gradient between the urban and natural dichotomy, focusing on water as the element that brings the nature back into to the human through physical connection to space and spiritual connection to self. It will explore the site as a series of experiential moments that will form the filtering process from one end of the spectrum to the other. At which point has the threshold been crossed? Is it perhaps more about the liminal space between these polarities, the journey, rather than the destination?


to bathe is to fall into step with your biological rhythms, in and out breathing, the speed of blood coursing through your veins, the slowness of tiredness…the mechanical world of objective time, seconds, minutes, hours – is irrelevant here. Taking a bath properly requires being able to guiltlessly linger, hang out, and do nothing whatsoever.

Design Statement
Saltwater Springs will be an urban oasis, a centre for physical and mental wellbeing, at the former Jack’s Magazine site. As a junction between dense urbanism and natural landscape, the site will bridge the broken ecological and social connections that humans have with nature and within themselves. Water is a source of life and it will be the element that heals the site. In its untainted form, it imitates physical and spiritual purity and cleansing. The healing process will begin by physically restoring the eroded banks of the Maribyrnong River and reconnecting the former canal. This will clear the conscience and allow for the mental healing process to begin. Meandering boardwalks throughout the new landscape will lead you to the centre of the site - an adaptive reuse of the former gun powder magazine buildings where a program of various meditation, hydrotherapy and balneotherapy techniques, will allow one to rejuvenate the self.


Floor plans, sections and renders

Hero render: Justine Lenkiewicz (Graduating work)

CALDARIUM: Justine Lenkiewicz

VISTA: Justine Lenkiewicz

VISTA: Justine Lenkiewicz

MASTERPLAN: Justine Lenkiewicz

ENTRY: Justine Lenkiewicz

WETLANDS: Justine Lenkiewicz

Unlike the luxury and privacy of modern day spa houses, the traditional public bath house was once an intense community centre for social gatherings in our cities – a vital public space for social, cultural and political exchange. The first public baths in Ancient Greece and Rome arose from a communal need for cleanliness, at a time when most people did not have access to private bathing facilities, and were traditionally segregated based on gender. They consisted of three basic interconnected rooms – the caldarium, the tepidarium and the frigidarium. The Roman frigidarium was a cold water pool that patrons would immerse themselves in as preparation, before moving into the warmer rooms. The Ottomans introduced the Islamic ablution ritual into the bathing experience. The body had to be purified and rid of sin before entering the bath rooms, and they believed this could only be achieved through running water. The body was prepared by a cleansing ritual involving a laconicum – a hot dry steam room, to open the pores, a shower, and a sea salt scrub down. The sequencing of rooms was hence also reversed, so that you would enter through hottest rooms and move progressively through to the coldest, before finishing off with refreshing cold running water in the sudatorium, a hot wet steam room.

Despite varying typology, culture and tradition, the bath house has always been an institution for health, socialization and pleasure – a central aspect to community life.

We are living in increasingly urbanized environments, that distance us from nature and from ourselves. Lack of quality open space has a flow on effect onto inactivity and lack of connectedness, which in turn leads to reduced quality of life. The bath house offers a powerful sensorial sanctuary from the stressors and rabid consumerism of our modern age life. It is a place for stillness and reflection, wellness and mindfulness. It blurs the boundaries of traditional male and female ablution, of public and private, and of communal and personal. It is a place of anti-conflict, anti-competition and anti-hierarchy. The armor of our daily lives are discarded with our clothes, and the perils of our overworked, overstressed lives melt away with the steam.

Located at the threshold of man-made terrain of passive suburbia and organic natural landscape, the site represents a state of tension. It captivates visitors with its cavernous barrel vault interiors and the height of its massive earth mounds. But beyond the fortifying perimeter wall, the site has a fragmented relationship with its surroundings. Rapid urbanization in the area is reducing the quality the biodiversity and greenery in the space. We see this represented in the ecological destruction of the banks of the Maribyrnong and the intensity of flooding that occurs in the area. As we become distanced from nature, we see correlations between deteriorating mental and physical health. In a systems worldview, one can only truly thrive if the other does as well.

Water is the element that resolves this tension and brings nature back into the human through physical connection to space and spiritual connection to self.

Jack’s Magazine is protected by heritage status and is seen as a significant historical and cultural landmark for Victoria’s industrial and military past. But apart from the impressive scale of the man-made blast mounds, local Victorian bluestone construction and grand barrel vault interiors - the site is a barricaded and confined, degenerative and withdrawn place that stands for social and ecological destruction. Is this something that Victorian’s should value and uphold? By definition, adaptive reuse uses an old space or building and revitalizes it with new life and purpose that is socially and environmentally appropriate to its context.

Saltwater Springs will bring relief to the physical barriers of the site, regenerate ecologically and spiritually for flora, fauna and human to flourish, contribute to the community by addressing issues that have been identified by locals, and invigorate Jack’s Magazine.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve wins 2018 AIA Award for Sustainable Architecture

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve wins 2018 Australian Institute of Architects Award for Sustainable Architecture

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Cafe (lower level), and viewing deck (upper level)

Guymer Bailey Architects was announced as the winner of the coveted 2018 Australian Institute of Architects Harry Marks Award for Sustainable Architecture, for the design of the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, an iconic conservation, recreation, education and tourism asset located in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

The Award, which recognises projects that excel as architecture, and also displays innovation and excellence in terms of environmental sustainability, was awarded to Guymer Bailey Architects in design collaboration with local Designer Norman Richards Design and Interiors.  The new Discovery Centre and Café was designed for the Sunshine Coast Regional Council to strengthen the role the Reserve plays in the conservation and display of local flora and fauna.

The Discovery Centre, which also received a commendation in the Public Architecture category, nestles sensitively into Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve’s complex nitophyll vine forest, one of the last remaining examples of this vegetation community that once covered the Blackall Ranges. Inside, the Centre contains innovative rainforest interpretative displays and has two frontages to provide spectacular views of both the Glass House Mountains and rainforest reserve.

Outside, a long timber boardwalk loops around the building allowing scenic access and learning opportunities for visitors with informative signage featured along the way. Sensitive to the heavily protected forest, the boardwalk was threaded through the existing flora to minimise the building footprint. To further minimise disruption, plant species endemic to the area were used for additional landscaping, and most of the design materials were sourced locally.

Phil Jackson, Director and design architect of Guymer Bailey Architects on the project has this to say about the project and win.

Mary Cairncross is an incredibly important project to us, and everyone involved. With such an amazingly beautiful and well-loved site, we were conscious of the responsibility the team carried to the community to create a special building and landscape. 

The design and delivery was genuinely collaborative from start to finish, and we wish to thank all those involved. We are humbled by the recognition the project has received, particularly for sustainability, as it reinforces our commitment to responsible, sustainable design for the community.”

To view the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve project click here:

RAVENHALL PRISON NAMED AUSTRALIA’S BEST INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT

Victoria’s $670 million Ravenhall Prison Project has been named as Australia’s best infrastructure project at Infrastructure Partnerships Australia’s National Infrastructure Awards.

Ravenhall Prison - Original concept design

“It is exciting to see the Ravenhall Prison Project win the Project of the Year Award as it is the first privately delivered prison project Victoria has seen in about 20 years – delivered on-budget and on-time”
— IPA Chief Executive Adrian Dwyer.

Gatehouse

“The Ravenhall Prison Project fundamentally transforms the way that support is provided to people in the justice system in Victoria.

“In a Victorian first, the proponents will oversee all elements of the prison’s operations, including custodial services, with performance targets to directly reduce the rate of recidivism.

“Australia is a world leader in bringing together the public and private sectors through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) to deliver better outcomes for the community.

“The Ravenhall Prison Project is a stellar example of the evolution of the PPP model in Australia and shows what can be achieved when the public and private sectors collaborate to achieve good outcomes.

“I pass on my congratulations to the winners of the Project of the Year Award tonight,” Mr Dwyer said.

Transitions Hub Courtyard

Community 4 

Cell Building Day Room

Internal recreation space


The National Infrastructure Awards are convened by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia each year, recognising excellence in public administration and business, across major projects. The Project of the Year is the most prestigious of the Awards.

MARY CAIRNCROSS | REALISING OUR VISION

MARY CAIRNCROSS | REALISING OUR VISION

We are looking back on our original concept for the redevelopment of the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Discovery Centre. 

MARY CAIRNCROSS | BREAKFAST WITH THE BIRDS

Elevated walkway through existing trees at Mary Cairncross (Photography: Scott Burrows)

Elevated walkway through existing trees at Mary Cairncross (Photography: Scott Burrows)

Looking for another reason to visit Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve? Why not join the Sunshine Coast chapter of Birdlife Australia for morning bird walks. The group meets at the back gate to the reserve, on alternative Saturday and Wednesday mornings.

To book tickets and to find out more visit the Sunshine Coast Council website via the link below.

NEW SHEPPARTON LAW COURTS | IN THE NEWS

Set to open in just two days, the new Shepparton Law Courts have been in the news once again. 

In this article, The Age discusses the design of the new Shepparton Law Courts with Architectus Director Mark Wilde, providing insight into how the building itself will help to alleviate stress for its users.

Shepparton's new court building is designed to minimise stress and intimidation, in part via transparent building materials. 

Shepparton's new court building is designed to minimise stress and intimidation, in part via transparent building materials. 

Today, rather than intimidate, courts the world over are increasingly designed to alleviate stress.
— Ray Edgar, The Age

The Shepparton Law Courts is a joint venture project between Architectus, GHD Woodhead and Guymer Bailey Architects. This is the second joint venture courthouse that Guymer Bailey has worked with Architectus on, the first being the award winning Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law in Brisbane. 


Shepparton Law Courts Project Team
Builder: ADCO Construction
Principle Consultant: Architectus Group Pty LtdGHD Woodhead and Guymer Bailey Architects
Project Manager: Ontoit
Quantity Surveyor: Wilde and Woolard

SHEPPARTON COURTS | WORK IN PROGRESS

Work in progress photos from Shepparton Law Courts – Practical completion is expected next week for Stage 1 works.

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For monthly progress updates follow @CourtSVic on Twitter and #SheppCourts
— Court Services Victoria

Project Team

Builder: ADCO Construction

Principle Consultant: Architectus Group Pty Ltd, GHD Woodhead and Guymer Bailey Architects

Project Manager: Ontoit

Quantity Surveyor: Wilde and Woolard

CYCLE OF GIVING 2018

Raising fund for medical research, yesterday cyclists from Guymer Bailey Architects took part in the annual Cycle of Giving charity ride.

Passionate about supporting the community that supports us, and fostering a culture of sustainability and philanthropy through our organisation, Guymer Bailey supports many charities and community events throughout the year.

Team Guymer Bailey cycling towards the finish line

Team Guymer Bailey cycling towards the finish line

Pictured above, cyclists from Guymer Bailey Architects took part in the annual Cycle of Giving ride (100km), to raise funds for organ transplant research and awareness for organ donation.

At any one time, there are about 1500 Australians waiting for an organ or tissue donation to save their lives. Without medical research finding better ways to source, match and transplant organs, this list is only going to get bigger. The money that is raised for the 2018 Cycle of Giving goes towards key research organ transplant projects at The Prince Charles Hospital.

This was the fifth year that Guymer Bailey took part in the cycle - a cause very close to our hearts as we have seen first hand how Organ Donation can transform a persons life. 

Although the cycle is over, we will still be fundraising for the next couple of weeks, with every dollar making a difference. 


To find out more about the medical research at The Prince Charles Hospital - https://www.cycleofgiving.org.au/champion/2018/page?articleid=170

To find out more about Organ and Tissue Donation in Australia - https://register.donatelife.gov.au/

To learn more about the charities Guymer Bailey supports - https://www.guymerbailey.com.au/corporate-responsibility