Designing Community Spaces that Nurture, foster Connectivity and Socialisation and provide a Sense of Place
At Enrich Architecture, we believe that Civic and Community spaces should be designed with the intention to make a positive contribution to the community, whether it be culturally, socially or economically.
We endeavour to create thoughtful spaces that bring people together, strengthen communities, and enhance the lives of those who utilise them. When our team develops a design for Civic and Community projects, we ensure the following three design features are considered from concept to completion to create a nurturing community space:
> Sense of Place
When we design community spaces, we consider how we can introduce flexibility to create ‘communal zones’ within an overarching space where individuals can feel connected to the broader community.
Collaboration in a community is key in giving individuals purpose and bringing people together to feel a part of something. Collaboration fosters learning by encouraging people to work together and share ideas, as well as develop higher-level thinking skills, boost confidence and self-esteem.
The Yarrabilba Kindergarten and Community Hub was designed to include spaces for private counselling services and larger multi-purpose spaces for community use. Providing a commonplace for the connection with local community groups and participation in events helps children build diverse relationships and understand their connections to a broader world, promote collaboration and active citizenship. Strong connection with the diverse community reinforces the ideologies that every child is an individual and helps build a strong sense of self, confidence in their abilities and a love of learning that they will take with them to school.
Images: Scott Burrows Photographer, Yarrabilba Kindergarten and Community Hub. VIEW PROJECT
As we design communal, collaborative spaces for many different ages, from children to the elderly, we understand that socialisation is important for all for various reasons.
For a child’s early development, when, where and how they socialise is crucial as it will influence how a child responds to different situations they encounter and the development of their decision-making behaviour. For the elderly, maintaining consistent social relationships with others is key to their overall physical and mental wellbeing. Studies show that the elderly who live alone are at risk of social isolation, thus creating these community spaces with areas for socialisation is essential.
Designing spaces for socialisation for working individuals is just as important. Large open multi-functional and flexible retreats for staff members to recharge, catch up, wind down, relax and enjoy. Collaborative working spaces, formal and casual meetings and small group chat spaces can positively impact their daily lives.
When Enrich Architecture designed the Administration Building at St Thomas’ Primary School Camp Hill, the result brought together the school’s staff who were separated into various other common areas, into one collaborative, communal space. This allows staff to share knowledge and ideas, include everyone and avoid isolating new employees, as well as encourage team values and boost morale.
Sense of Place
Without considering the functionality and needs of individuals in the community, it would be difficult to design a space that catered to the practical needs and provide a sense of place or ownership to those who would utilise it. For this reason, our team collaborates with all stakeholders to establish the design brief of a space prior to design and development. This is a vital step when designing any civic space whether it be an Education or Community-use Facility, Aged Care Facility, Retirement or Affordable Community Housing, or a collaborative working space. Working with our clients to develop the brief allows us to gain a better understanding of the project vision and local community identity.
Collaboration with the School and Parish at St Ita’s Dutton Park enabled us to design facilities in the school which nurture the spiritual growth of the students. The important visual link of the Church designed by Hargraves Mooney Kenny acknowledges connection with the wider Church Community who welcome, encourage and support the participation of families and enhances the sense of the sacred.
All aspects of our designs are combined with the above factors and evaluated against the need for flexibility, future-proofing, and Environmentally Sustainable Design solutions to create thoughtful yet functional community architecture.