Waterloo Youth Centre

Yet, just as the steel is softened by botanic exuberance, these lives are warmed, both by Weave's openheartedness and by architecture that bespeaks genuine respect.

This is architecture. Shelter from the storm.

Elizabeth Farelly, SMH July 2013

Waterloo Youth Centre

Opened by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, and Federal Minister for Health Tania Plibersek in 2012, the refurbishment of the Waterloo Oval Youth Facility is a ground-breaking piece of community architecture.

The former public toilet block overlooking Waterloo Oval and Fernside skatepark has been transformed into a high-quality contemporary workspace and counselling facility for Weave, a ground-breaking organisation dedicated to supporting disadvantaged young people in the inner-city.

The existing structure is revitalised by new internal planning focused around a central courtyard, and the addition of a landscaped roof garden veiled by a tensile structure supporting native climbing plants.

As the plants mature, the resulting building form has merged sculpturally with its landscape and urban setting.

Whilst being robust, low maintenance and long-lasting, the building will have minimal environmental impact, and has maintained elements of the existing structure as part of the new works.

Internally comfort conditions are passively controlled using natural ventilation, exposed thermal mass and a building envelope shaded by the canopy structure and climbing plants. The new courtyard will bring daylight into the depths of the building, minimising reliance on artificial lighting.

The building also incorporates recycled materials including a wooden block floor utilising timber from reclaimed power poles, recycled stone and reclaimed hardwood.

The project is the 2013 winner of the Sir John Sulman medal for public architecture, and an AIA NSW award for sustainability, and national awards for public architecture, sustainability and steel architecture.

Team Catalyst
Steensen Varming
Environet Consultancy
Wilde and Woollard
Grant Harrington
Project Corp
Make Models
Richard Glover, Paul Bradshaw, Clinton Weaver