The Hearing House works with children with severe hearing disabilities. They originally worked out of an overcrowded Arts and Crafts-influenced house which was becoming unsustainable.
Bossley Architects were engaged to design expanded facilities. It was decided to retain the original corner house as an anchor for the site due to its historical connection as the original premises for The Hearing House and also for its prominent position within the local suburban context. Two adjacent characterless houses were bought to provide the site for expansion.
The new two-level building sits alongside the existing house with a glazed circulation atrium between them. This provides separation to the existing house and allows the addition to be clearly legible. The addition looks out over the garden and the new preschool play area.
The new building is clearly articulated through its form and materials. It has a cedar-clad upper level with a flat roof and exterior walls that gently undulate to articulate the elevations. The upper level projects out from the lower floor to create a shadow line and to reduce the perceived scale of the building. The faceted cedar faces are punctuated with glazed openings. The lower walls are stepped to follow the angled boundary of Campbell Road.
The complex includes reception, waiting area, offices, toilets and meeting rooms, and upstairs the therapy rooms, sound booths with observation rooms, home suite, mapping rooms, sensory integration and stores. Interiors are relaxed and fun to provide a homely feel for the children and their parents.
Hearing House staff were keen to have talking points to encourage breakthrough conversations with the children, and bright colours assist with this. Upstairs an orange elliptical form fills the centre of the space, adding surprise and offering wayfinding for access and exiting the various clinics at that level. The balustrade coloured tubes were inserted into the balustrade, to provide elements of surprise for children when they get to the upper level, oriented for them at their eye height.
Bold hues of custom made Resene PBA Red, Resene Bright Spark, Resene Limerick, Resene Disco, Resene Curious Blue and Resene Energise pop against the neutral Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta and handrails in Resene Eighth Masala. Children respond positively to the colours and enjoy the intensity of environment they create.
The adjacent Childcare Centre is an independent operation but contributes to the atmosphere of the Hearing House exterior spaces. The bright colour palette runs across both buildings to provide consistency and excitement.
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