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Eastern Hub

Client genU (formerly Karingal)
Status Completed 2016
Country Wadawurrung
Location East Geelong, VIC
Front view of Eastern Hub community centre with canopy over forecourt and gum trees in the lawn
View of building with timber feature shading device atop windows on community centre, lawn in the foreground
Stone and timber curved facades on community building with sunlight hitting the underside of the canopy
Leather look lounges and timber coffee tables in seating nook overlooking courtyard
Timber feature shading device atop windows on community centre, lawn towards the street
Interior image of café seating in high ceiling atrium space with feature timber structural columns
Timber feature cladding at community centre entry with canopy overhead
Kitchen space with bench seating and storage for kitchen equipment
Café with lollipops, cookies, chips and prepared food on display. Drinks fridge to the right of the counter
Commercial kitchen with green chopping board on stainless steel bench, pans on stove
Large multipurpose room in a community centre with tables and seating overlooking landscaped courtyard
Landscaping in curved courtyard, ramp for all abilities access
Status Completed 2016
Client genU (formerly Karingal)
Country Wadawurrung
Location East Geelong, VIC
Budget $ 6.5 million
Awards Winner – 2017 Regional Building Awards – South West: Excellence in construction of Commercial Buildings over $6m Finalist: 2017 AIA Awards – Regional Prize

Beginning in 2010, FMSA Architecture worked in collaboration with client genU (formerly Karingal) to develop a new community centre that supported their specialist programs while creating an inclusive centre for the local community.

In operation for more than 60 years, the existing facility operated by genU – a not-for-profit organisation providing a range of services for people with a disability or mental illness, disadvantaged and older Australians – was dated, closed off to the local community and ill-equipped to meet modern accessibility standards.

The result was the Eastern Hub – a facility for the whole community.

The Eastern Hub vision combines two core principles: ‘to provide first class disability care facilities within a de-institutionalised setting’, and ‘to be inclusive for all by design and culture’. It provides a unique environment offering new opportunities for interaction with the public as a key component of a holistic-care philosophy.

Servicing the needs of intergenerational community groups, the Eastern Hub includes a series of welcoming and engaging indoor and outdoor spaces including a community garden, cafe, specialised training kitchen, accessible toilets with hoists and large flexible multi-purpose rooms for hire including art rooms, computer room and classrooms open to the public as well as training and support agencies.

The Eastern Hub provides fresh opportunities for interaction between genU’s clients, staff and the general public.  Implementing this new mix of functions required substantial change management within genU.  Successful engagement during the feasibility phase with genU staff, clients, parents and the local community meant that the project received a high ongoing level of support.

Completed in April 2016, the Eastern Hub provides a great opportunity for people to meet in an inclusive environment that is both socially and environmentally sustainable.

Photography: Andrew Sans Photography