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Docklands Family Services & Boating Hub from Buluk Park. © Hayball

Building a Community: Docklands Family Services & Boating Hub

The first decade of Docklands was about buildings. The focus has now shifted to delivering the facilities that are the building blocks of a thriving community.

Gregory Anderson, CEO of Places Victoria.

Located on the Collins Street Wharf along the Victoria Harbour waterfront, the Docklands Family Services & Boating Hub (DFSBH) is the second community facility to be delivered through a unique tripartite model between Places Victoria, Lend Lease and the City of Melbourne - the other being the adjacent Library at the Dock. Together these two buildings will form the civic heart of Victoria Harbour and combined with Buluk Park will provide over 8,000 square metres of public space.

The existing Shed 4 which occupies a portion of the site will be partially demolished to allow for construction of the new facility before being completely demolished as future buildings are proposed.

Location of new Family Services & Boating Hub building. © Hayball

Designed by Hayball, the two-storey building draws on the the vernacular of the existing marine buildings of the wharves at Docklands in terms of both scale and materiality. The Collins Street frontage features an undercover pedestrian walkway at ground level with framed glazed windows to allow views into the boating activities and through to the water.

On the eastern side, addressing Buluk Park, the building's roof extends beyond the building line to from a veranda. Materials and finishes proposed externally including feature timber blades, in-situ concrete, folded metal, exterior grade plywood, steel balustrades, and large glazed elements in the form of tilt doors to the north.

The ground floor Boating Hub is planned to accommodate Docklands’ current boating clubs - Victorian Dragon Boat Association, Docklands Yacht Club and Melbourne Outrigger Canoe Club in an approximately 712sqm open plan arrangement, consisting boating storage and associated office and amenities. The layout provides flexibility in the configuration of storage for water craft and equipment and also features a double height space for the provision of masted yachts allowing for views from the upper level.

Access into the building is via a double height common lobby accessed from the corner of Sailmaker Way and Collins Street.

Ground Floor Plan showing boating activities. © Hayball

The Family Services Centre to be located on the first floor and comprises a 229sqm multi-purpose/function space to accommodate approximately 120 people, a 540sqm family services hub comprising a reception area, consulting rooms, play-group room, program room and outdoor playground.

The function space is open plan and provides direct access to a 30sqm viewing terrace. Amenities are located centrally within the plan and serve both the function space and the family services hub.

First Floor Plan illustrating programmatic arrangements of Family Services centre. © Hayball

Additionally the interim public realm design response includes a number of improvements proposed to the public realm over two stages:

  • The completion of Sailmaker Way to the eastern building line in bluestone pavement.
  • The construction of the Collins Street footpath up to and adjacent to the entrance of the building.
  • The construction of timber edge and seating to the edge of the Promenade.
  • The provision of street lighting and bins on the northern side of Collins Street in accordance with City of Melbourne’s standards for Docklands.
  • The construction of Collins Street within the bounds of the subject site including the construction of the bluestone pavements and car park bays to the north and south side of Collins Street.
  • The provision of street furniture including lighting, bins, seats and bike hoops along Collins Street in accordance with City of Melbourne’s standards for Docklands.
  • The provision of street trees along the south side of Collins Street.

Buildings such as the DFSBH and Library at the Dock are critical community infrastructure projects as they provide the waterfront with a much more human scale experience whilst also ensuring that larger public spaces such as Buluk Park are afforded access to adequate sunlight and remain desirable spaces to visit and engage. The injection of a diverse programme which differ from the largely retail focused tenancies at ground level add a further dimension to the docks.

The inspired choices of materials and building forms which respond to the waterfront context and built history of the area provide a softer and warmer contrast to the glazed concrete and steel office and residential towers. Further community focused buildings are planned for the waterfront along the northern edge of the peninsula.

The $8.5m facility is due to get underway in October with an anticipated completion date of September 2015.

Docklands Family Services & Boating Hub from Collins Street. © Hayball

1 comment

Andrew's picture

It'll be a good building for the area. I rode down there last week the the library was getting a bit of foot traffic on a Friday afternoon which was great to see. Sadly that area is a dead end, it is a destination for people, not something you pass by.

There really needs to be a pedestrian/bike or tramlink at the end of Collins and Bourke Streets, not up closer to Charles Grimes bridge like the proposed trambridge is, that is ineffective.

If you can somehow make Collins st a thoroughfare to fishermens bend for the thousands of people who will soon live 50 meters across the river this area will be well served.
Otherwise it will stay a dead end for those who wish to travel up to North Wharf just to look up at the Bolte Bridge.

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