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‘LIKE HOME’ – UTS Blackfiars Childrens Centre: LS2201

Thierry Lacoste + Tasmin Dunn + Ric McConaghy
Formal CPD
2 Hours - FORMAL CPD
Duration: 01:02:26

The Blackfriars children’s centre in Sydney by DJRD and Lacoste + Stevenson architects celebrate the beautifully naive depictions of housing by children. Each playroom in the childcare centre is in the form of a house as might be drawn by a child; a box with a pitched roof, while a sense of home in both scale and materiality creates the feeling of a familiar place. 

The overall form is designed as a series of small ‘houses’ continuously connected along the street, each varying slightly in pitch and scale like in a small village. It completes the courtyard created by the heritage buildings occupying the site. 

The pitched roof façade, a combination of clear and printed glass and colourful timber slats provides an animated streetscape. Materials, such as timber floor, raw plywood, colourful rugs create a warm, friendly and relaxed environment inside and outside. At night, the building is illuminated from within through the gabbles’ translucent cladding. 

The circulation inside is punctuated with wonderful moments for children to learn and interact in spontaneous ways. Each “house” opens onto an outdoor play area ensuring indoor and outdoor spaces are seamlessly connected.


The playground provides shade, fun and discovery for all stages of the children development.

Units of Competency/Performance Criteria (at least partially addressed as per the NSCA 2021)
At the completion of this course you will:
  • Understand the relationships between the teams in the collaborative design of a complex childrens education facility.
  • Appreciate the complexity of site, client and user considerations and their affect on the outcome
  • Gain insight into the different tools used by designers to develop and achieve the desired outcomes.
  • Appreciate the use of materials, old and new, in the development of the building fabric.
  • Understand and appreciate how designing for children affects all aspects of the project, and how clear objectives can assist to achieve the desired outcome.

              Recognised by the NSW ARB, ARB of Victoria, BA of Qld, AB of WA, Work Stds Tas, APB of SA, PIA, AILA & BDA

              • PRESENTER
              • FORMAL CPD/CPE POINTS

              • Thierry LACOSTE

                Thierry Lacoste has studied architecture in Belgium and Italy. He started his own practice in Paris with Antoinette Robain in 1991 after winning the renowned ‘Europan’ International Competition. Together they won numerous first prize: City of Paris Young Architects Competition (1992), Young Architects Albums (1992) and Butagaz Competition (1993). Lacoste+Robain firm culminated with the prestigious Award for the ‘Best First building (1996) for the Overseas Archive Centre in Aix-en-Provence. 

                Thierry Lacoste and David Stevenson started Lacoste + Stevenson Architects in 1997 and have a continuing reputation for innovative and refreshing solutions to architectural challenges. Together, they delivered significant buildings in Sydney and NSW: Customs House Refurbishment, Rushcutters Bay Kiosk and Grandstand additions, Mount Penang Garden Entry Pavilions, Ultimo Public School (with DesignInc), UTS Central Broadway façade (with FJMT) … 

                Thierry has been teaching in various universities since 1992. He recently finished a PhD at RMIT University titled “Form follows Emotion”.

                Tasmin DUNN

                Tasmin Dunn is a Senior Associate of DJRD and is passionate about research-driven design

                excellence in the Early Learning and Education sectors. She continues to refine her knowledge in these areas whenever she can, particularly enjoying the sometimes unusual insights her own children lend in designing spaces for them. 

                In 2015 Tasmin was a finalist for the Timber Design Awards ‘rising Star’ category for KU ANSTO Children’s Centre. In 2018 DJRD with Lacoste + Stevenson were awarded the NSW AIA Architecture Award for Educational Architecture for “Like Home” Blackfriars Children’s Centre. Tasmin was Project Architect on the UTS Blackfriars Children’s Centre from 2012 – 2017. 

                Recently completed Early Learning centres include Yirran Gumal (2020) located on Gadigal Country, and Gowrie NSW Dubbo Early Education and Care (2019) on Wiradjuri Country.   

                Tasmin is a registered Architect and completed her Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Sydney in 2008. 

                Ric MCCONAGHY

                Ric McConaghy has spent the vast majority of his last three to four decades working intimately with communities of diverse cultural backgrounds, providers, carers and children to create spaces for exploration, interaction and discovery often within a naturalistic setting. he seeks to create challenges for physical, emotional, social and imaginative engagement. 

                He has been a committed and active advocate for children's rights and inclusion since the mid 1980's and contributed significantly to the development of the General Comment issued by the UNCRC the Child's Right to Play. 

                He has been a fierce advocate for inclusion that extends well beyond access and affords the opportunity for experience and engagement for all who visit the spaces he creates. he believes in genuine engagement with those for whom the spaces are being designed and is convinced that the spaces are better for all for that engagement. 

                He takes an active and enthusiastic role (given the opportunity) during the construction phase to create a shared sense of enthusiasm and attention to detail amongst contractors, suppliers, providers and artists to work collaboratively to deliver a special place for the client and community they are working for. ultimately he is convinced that if you put play, engagement and passion into all aspects of the creation of the space then that is what will offer for those that visit ... and a few surprises besides.