Korayn Birralee Family Centre in Corio, northern Geelong is a state-of-the-art integrated learning and child care facility for local families. The name, Korayn Birralee, means ‘Corio children’ in the local Wadawurrung language.
The centre houses kindergarten, long day care, maternal and child health, specialist family support services and consulting rooms, all interconnected by a central thoroughfare. Each children’s room has its own identity via a designated colour theme. The centre also includes administration areas, a toy library, commercial kitchen, community lounge, gathering spaces, an external play area, and a connection to the neighbouring Northern Bay College as an acknowledgement of the transition from kindergarten to school.
As a 6 Star Green Star rated project, the building incorporates environmentally sustainable design. Sustainable features include a rammed earth wall that acts as the spine of building, energy efficient design, rainwater harvesting and reuse, PV solar array, and materials including carpet tiles and linoleum flooring made from recycled content.
The building complements its local environment with a mostly neutral colour palette. The dynamic form and roof planes act as gesture to the local You Yangs mountain range, and further evoke a sense of connectedness to the wider surroundings.
The external play area by Ochre Landscape offers a sensory learning experience with elevated walkways, sandpits and a raised water rill acting as both tactile and visual feature pieces to enhance nature play. A large eel trap replica – designed and constructed in consultation with the local Wathaurong community – greets visitors at the building’s entry and allows for children to journey through its structure on their way to and from the centre.