The Hackney Kindergarten is located near the River Torrens in the suburb of Hackney. Being a smaller site, the design challenge was to deliver an open, flexible space, whilst still providing usable outdoor rooms suited to the Kindergarten pedagogy and curricular. The design responds to the adjacent River Torrens billabong and draws on cues taken from the landscape such bulrushes, reeds, canoes and smooth boulders/rocks.
These elements are common throughout the design and inspire sculptures and structures, including a timber canoe carved into a small billabong within the outdoor space. The design also considers the very homely appearance of the building and the appropriate setting which could link the landscape with the built form. The landscape design has thus been arranged with a traditional lawned space at the front of the building and cottage-like planting to a prominent fenceline and Kindergarten entry, which draws people to the centre, whilst connecting to the built form materiality.
The children’s ability to adapt and change the flexible spaces built into the design, whilst still utilising sand play, water play and mud play spaces, has allowed this space to further evolve with time and integrate seamlessly with the kindergarten’s desire for future use.