The new office space works congruently with the existing heart of the church, connecting together seamlessly. Featuring a large green slope and central community garden above the car park, it works to create a strong connection between the street-scape and the communal landscape on level 1.
The main use of the building was to be for open office spaces for 14-15 staff with private offices for senior staff, including the need of a reception area including relief space, lunch area, printing area, breakout room for quiet space, server room and storage. Two multi-purpose rooms were also required which could also be made available for community use.
Ancillary functions included another multi-purpose room on the ground floor including storage for aged care activity, kitchen, laundry, disabled toilet with baby change area, showers and a 20 car garage with secure bike parking.
A second building was also required to house a workshop for bike repairs and computer room with toilets. C.Kairouz were also tasked with using as many sustainable design principles while staying within the budget.
The previous design for the Southport Uniting Church offices and community centre saw a structure built on one level to the east side of the site which involved the demolition of the existing office space and multi-purpose community space . The design proved to be over-budget and failed to meet all the needs in the brief.
C.Kairouz Architects came on board at this stage and suggested to strategically redesign the new office to the west side of the site which was a less valuable area. By doing this the unit church not only would avoid the upfront cost of demolishing the existing multi-purpose space which was still usable, but would also leave open the possibility to develop the land in the future.
The new proposed office space, redesigned above a part-subterranean car park would act as a sound buffer between the railway and church. Finally, a green roof would connect the public garden with the office not only to screen the view of the cars from the church but would also provide amenities to the office and the community.
Also put forth in the design was the efficient solution of an underground car park, fit for 20 cars and community minibus. This meant that there would be more efficient space for staff parking and reduce the amount of excavating needed, as the green slope would act as a landscape feature of the project. Two mature palm trees approximately 5 meters tall were successfully relocated and integrated into the new landscape design.
The Southport Uniting Church provides a socio-economic sustainability solution by creating value for the community. Amenities such as storage for aged care activity, disabled toilet with baby change area, a courtyard space for laundry, numerous bike spaces and separate operational bike repair shed containing tools & storage are used by community members of the church to service their needs, or the needs of others.
Furthermore, 40,000L of water storage tanks were installed as well as a solar farm on the roof of the building enabling the whole building to operate off the grid. Double-glazed windows were used on all exterior facades, with shading visors made from perforated metal used on all windows on the west facade to moderate the hot afternoon sun.
The landscaped slope acts as a ‘green roof’ for the car park, creating a strong connection with the building and the community garden at the front of the site.
By providing a more favourable solution to the previous design, C.Kairouz Architects have also provided potential for future development on the site. C.Kairouz Architects and the Uniting Church have seen an incredible opportunity and have already made provisions to transform the freed up space of 2500sqm to develop an age care centre and affordable housing.