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Melbourne Children’s Court Foyer, Cubbies, Waiting Areas and Playground

Client Court Services Victoria
Status Completed 2018
Country Wurundjeri
Location Melbourne, VIC
Colourful felt pictures applied to walls and flooring of foyer in eagle designs
Colourful cloud acoustic panels hanging in double height foyer space, stairs leading down to seating
Felt eagle patterned feature wall seen through doors to internal courtyard with brightly coloured bench seats
Foyer area with coloured seating and standing desks, external shading on building and colourful cloud acoustic panels
Blue colourway seating and suspended acoustic cloud panels next to standing desk in foyer space
Pink and yellow bench seating in external courtyard overlooking Children's Court internal entry
Felt acoustic wall panels in colourful patterns in hallway between court spaces and leafy courtyard
Felt eagle design on walls leading into children's cubby at Children's Court of Victoria
Cubby nook with yellow padded bench seating, felt wall decals, cloud pillow and patterned toy storage bags
Children's cubby waiting area with staff office overlooking
Curved, coloured seating, felt wall details in waiting areas
Colourful acoustic panels and chairs in waiting area
Status Completed 2018
Client Court Services Victoria
Country Wurundjeri
Location Melbourne, VIC

Court attendance can be anxiety-inducing – particularly for the youngest in society. At the Melbourne Children’s Court of Victoria (CCV), we designed a series of spaces that defuse tension; the concept based in trauma-informed architecture principles.

Beyond a more inviting foyer with new security upgrade, the Cubby House offers a playful sanctuary for young children, including DHHS charges, where they can be observed without feeling controlled. With security restrictions rendering external play spaces impossible in this zone, we designed a passive play space that mimics calming outdoor connections and nature themes. Inspired by treehouses as places for retreat and imaginative play, we detailed tactile, tree-themed wall murals with movable, abstract leaf elements, floor treatments representing pebbles and grass, and recessed relaxation nooks. A DHHS observation office sits discreetly alongside, and built-in desks within the space cater for on-site youth workers from the Alannah and Madeline Foundation – the organisation being one funder of the project.

Working closely with CCV staff we also designed welcoming, comfortable spaces in the main foyer and courtroom waiting areas. Colourful, cloud-shaped acoustic panels hang from the ceiling, dampening noise and offering a calming visual distraction. Padded banquette seats and soft wall treatments offer soothing tactile finishes that double as noise buffers, too. Seating arrangements here have been carefully considered to allow for the separation of parties and for quiet conversations between children and their family members, counsel and supervisors.

In the outdoor courtyard playground, we sought to create more engaging and inviting spaces that avoided any institutional feel. We preserved the existing trees and statues, but introduced pops of colour in curved bench seating and new timber features, emphasising warmth and opportunities for grounding nature connection.

Photography: Rhiannon Slatter Photography