Finalist 2019

Wunggurrwil Dhurrung

Gresley Abas Architects / Gregory Burgess Architects / REALM studios / Connor Pincus Group / Wyndham City

Wunggurrwil Dhurrung is a new community centre in Wyndham Vale, one of Victoria’s urban growth areas. An early stage of the development planned throughout this precinct, the Centre is uniquely responsive to the site and the community that it serves.

Combining a centre operated by the Koling Wada-Ngal Committee for Indigenous people with an Integrated Family Centre and community spaces, the building is a demonstration of how community can come together and create new opportunities for all.

Wunggurrwil Dhurrung means Strong Heart in Wathaurung. The heart of the building, the centre, is the connector, soak, gathering place, and it beats.

Design Excellence

This is a truly integrated centre – a landscape with a building in it, high ESD performance in every element, supporting a user experience of connection to nature, to place, and to community.

The building can be modified by users – opened or closed to the central heart or to the performance space, screens can be moved depending on wind or rain conditions, opening or closing circulation areas.

Carefully designed openings provide natural light and ventilation throughout, mechanically supported when conditions require. The building management system is responsive to both weather conditions and user changes, adapting to maintain optimum efficiency.

Design Impact

The building is carbon neutral, with 420m² solar PVs generating 56.5kw of renewable energy. Electric vehicle charge station and priority bays for low E vehicles compliment the connections for active travel options with end of trip facilities.

As well as the environment, the design supports people, by providing a workplace that enhances well-being. Zero VOC materials are used. The ergonomic work spaces are carefully scaled, connected to nature with expansive views of the sky, and have places to gather as well as retreat.
Visitors enjoy intuitive way-finding, inviting spaces to pause and a calm and uplifting environment.

Design Transformation

The stakeholders in this project have come together through a Collaborative design process. The resulting building embodies the values of respect, inclusivity, cultural safety, and access for all. The centre respectfully foregrounds the traditional owners, using Wathaurung language throughout, and re-instating an endemic landscape including food and medicinal plants.

The centre embraces the need to share resources, knowledge, and understanding, by balancing two briefs in one building.

Privacy and openness are considered so that community groups can maintain cultural protocols, with separate areas for men and women connecting to a large sand circle for performance and ceremony, and fire pit.

Design Innovation

Early in the design process the team and client held meetings with Wathaurung Traditional Owners, discussing how the building could give something back to the country. Water was agreed to be most critical.

100% of the water that falls on the site is allowed to return to ground water or used within the building. Rainwater is captured in tanks and slowly released through a series of ephemeral creeks that water the endemically planted landscape.

By keeping water on site rather than diverting it to the river via the sewer, the site is restored, and pollution to the river is reduced.

Other Key Features

  • Dhurrung dhurrung’, and art work by Vicki Cousins, in collaboration with Jeph Neale, Rob Bundle, Dave Ashton and Peter Worland. This is the Centre’s heart beat. The work includes stone, a vessel filled with water, through which sound vibrations travel creating patterns, which are filmed and projected inside the centre.
  • Certified 5 star Greenstar As Designed (As Built certification in progress)
  • Changing Places Facility provided for people with profound disabilities, and their carers
  • Universal Design Green Star credit targeted

Architectural Design 2019 Finalists

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Base Cabin

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Penguin Parade Visitor Centre

TERROIR (Architect) / Phillip Island Nature Parks (Client) / AECOM (Project Manager) / Tract/ Wood & Grieve/ Thylacine (Consultants) / Kane Constructions (Builder)

Braemar College Stage 1, Middle School

Hayball / Cundall / WGA / Tract / BSGM

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre Expansion

NH Architecture and Woods Bagot / Plenary Group / Probuild Constructions

Level Crossing Removal Project Caulfield to Dandenong

COX Architecture / ASPECT Studios / Level Crossing Removal Projects / CPB Contractors / Lendlease Engineering

Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts, Monash University

Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design

Parliament of Victoria Member’s Annexe

Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design with TCL

The New Ozanam House

MGS Architects / Accuraco Project Management / IrwinConsult / Webber Design / Outlines Landscape Architecture

Powell Street House

Robert Simeoni Architects