Eastern Hub

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 over 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 inter-generational 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.


Winner – 2017 Regional Building Awards – South West : Excellence in construction of Commercial Buildings over $6 m 

Finalist: 2017 AIA Awards – Regional Prize

Headspace Greensborough

In 2015 FMSA was engaged by Headspace and Mind Australia to design the fitout for their combined new youth services centre in Greensborough.  The health architecture solution is a result of extensive consultation with the Headspace and Mind Australia staff, and youth representatives utilise the services to ensure that the spaces met their specific needs and the wider organisational design standards and guidelines.

The centre comprises a variety of consulting and clinical rooms as well as shared meeting spaces and dedicated staff areas. The design of the fitout was configured to promote intuitive movement from the front door to reception, and from there on to a consulting room, clinical room or to a meeting room.

Using flexible furniture solutions, the central waiting area can be divided into a series of smaller alcoves for waiting or small group discussion; or reconfigured to create an open space for informal gatherings and events.

The following key design solutions have been integrated in the solution:

  1. Central waiting area contains flexible furniture that can be reconfigured to create alcoves in for waiting or small group discussion, or large group gatherings
  2. Group room contains flexible furniture and AV capability to accommodate a range of group activities
  3. Client accessible areas are designed to balance the needs of vulnerable clients with the safety and operational requirements of the staff.
  4. Colour palette incorporates branding colours of both organisations to create an inclusive and calming space.

Headspace Greensborough is the third project that FMSA has serviced for headspace following the success of the Geelong and Adelaide centres.

Photography: Rachael Dere Photography

Headspace Adelaide

In 2015 FMSA was engaged by Headspace to design the fitout for their new youth services centre in Adelaide.  Headspace provides mental health and wellbeing services to 12 to 25-year old’s with a focus on mental health, physical health, work and study support and alcohol and other drug services.

In response to extensive consultation with staff and users, our team designed and delivered a bright, sensitively planned solution that supports the specific needs of the young (12-25 year old) client group and the staff.

The new facilities also meet the rigorous demands of the headspace staff who provide much needed psychological and clinical services.  The design is a result of extensive consultation with the Headspace Adelaide staff to ensure that the spaces met their specific needs and the wider headspace organisational design standards and guidelines.

Utilising curved partitions to create spaces of different scales, and an uplifting colour palette, the centre included the design of medical consulting rooms, counselling rooms, group therapy, flexible education and gathering spaces, central reception and waiting areas, and staff offices and amenity spaces.

Recently the headspace Adelaide was recognised as a case study for best practice in designing spaces for young people in ‘Child & Adolescent Wellbeing & Violence Prevention in Schools’ published by Routledge.  The chapter and research titled ‘Enhancing the wellbeing of young people: The co-creation of a youth mental health space’ was undertaken in partnership with Flinders University, SWAPv Conference, headspace Onkaparinga.

The following key design solutions have been integrated in the solution:

  1. Staff office area includes 25% hot desks to accommodate several collocated agencies who use the space intermittently. The hot desks are located close to access stair, shared meeting room and phone booth. Acoustic wall panelling, workstation partitions and dedicated storage is provided for hot desk users.
  2. Group Kitchen doubles as a casual workspace with networked screen and sightlines to provide surveillance over common areas
  3. Client waiting areas are decentralised into 3 separate, discrete areas so they can be used as semi-private consultation spaces
  4. Group room contains flexible furniture and AV capability to accommodate a range of group activities
  5. Client accessible areas are designed to balance the needs of vulnerable clients with the safety and operational requirements of the staff.

Headspace Adelaide is the second project that FMSA has serviced for headspace including the Geelong and Greensborough centres.

Sherbrooke Family & Childrens’ Centre

FMSA Architecture was engaged by Shire of Yarra Ranges to provide masterplanning, architectural and interior design services for the new integrated community facility – the Sherbrooke Family & Children’s Hub.

In line with the National Quality Framework and the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework, the new Hub provides best practice integrated services to the community including long day childcare services, integrated and sessional preschool, kindergarten, maternal and child health (MCH), community meeting spaces, toy library, early childhood intervention services for children with disabilities/developmental delays, council community child health rooms and multipurpose rooms.

The Hub now offers 110 long day care places and 80 kindergarten and preschool places, almost doubling the availability of places for local families.

Replacing several existing buildings providing community services on the Burwood Highway site, the integrated model for the new Hub ensures that the Preschool, Childcare and other children’s services can benefit from sharing the same facilities. The design also reinvigorates the existing Upwey Hall, a valued community resource which is currently under utilised.

FMSA Architecture successfully led a comprehensive and experienced team of consultants to develop the Business Plan, Master Plan, property development strategy and design for the new Sherbrooke Family & Children’s Hub.

The design of the Hub responds to the ‘leafy’ residential nature of the immediate neighbourhood. The building comprises a number of single storey pavilions that respect the scale of the adjacent properties.

Minifie Park Early Childhood Centre

FMSA Architecture was engaged by City of Boroondara to provide architectural and interior design services for the redevelopment of the Minifie Park Early Childhood Centre.

Located in Balwyn North at the edge of an established community park, the redevelopment project saw the existing aging 60 place Childcare Centre replaced with a new larger 80 place Centre. The new design solution is informed by user feedback and the latest government and independent studies concerning Early Childhood education resulting in improved flexibility, passive security practices and usable educational spaces.

The redeveloped Minifie Park Early Childhood Centre includes formal reception area, staff rooms, long day care and kindergarten spaces, maternal and child health rooms, community use spaces, over 700 square metres of new landscaped play area and additional car park. The redevelopment of the Centre was conducted in two stages to allow services to remain operational.

The selected site presented significant challenges including a steeply sloping parkland site, large existing trees and limited car parking. The design response embraces the setting; incorporating a green roof of 5,500 indigenous vegetation chosen to create an improved habitat for insects, butterflies and birds. The green roof also helps to reduce the visual impact of the building in the park. The design also incorporates several ESD initiatives including rain water harvesting.

Extensive consultation was conducted to ensure that the building met client expectation and needs, responded to the significant site challenges and positively contributed to the highly valued parkland.

2017 Cubby House Challenge

FMSA Architecture was selected as 1 of the 5 designers to be involved in the ‘2017 Cubby House Challenge’ – an annual event raising funds for Kids Under Cover’s homelessness prevention programs.

Our design, the Kooky Cubby, explores big innovation on a small scale combining leading digital production technology and play theory. The result was an organic form that engaged the senses, inspired imaginative play and piqued the interest of children and adults alike.

Displayed at the 2017 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, the Kooky Cubby won the ‘Best Architectural Cubby’ award and sold for $20,000, contributing to the record fundraising effort for Kids Under Cover.

The Cubby House Challenge raises funds for Kids Under Cover’s work and educate the public on the importance of keeping at-risk youth connected to their family, community and education.


Best Architecturally Designed Cubby


About the Design: The Kooky Cubby 

The Kooky Cubby explores the potential relationship between the freedom of design given by 3d printing technology and the creation of a new imaginative play space. A traditional cubby emerges from the assumption that a child’s desires and need for play are analogous with a house. But, what would happen if this assumption is removed in favour of a critical, explorative design process that pushes the boundaries of innovation and imagination into a small space? Influenced by processes and organic forms found in nature, we used advanced fabrication techniques to synthesise and abstract the biomorphic to create a futuristic experience, the Kooky Cubby.

Driven by the desire to create new experiences, the flexibility of the outdoor-indoor space facilitates creative, explorative and non-structured free play. Textured and translucent PLA polymer walls along with the multi-coloured marine grade contoured plywood floor become the backdrop for imaginative interaction; further enhanced by secret tunnels, hidden nooks and caves creating opportunities for kids to create their own intuitive play experience.

The collaborative and prototypical process led by FMSA Architecture in association with RMIT d_Lab, Upstream Studio, Aurecon and the team of suppliers has lent itself to an iterative design methodology. From using initial concepts modelled with animation software and virtual reality googles to seek feedback from a group of primary school students; to managing the relationship between the 3d printer and our virtual models using parametric modelling; the process itself continually informed the design right up to the moment of printing.

Throughout the build process there has been constant testing and experimentation, along with failures of the technology and materials as the boundaries were pushed. The freedoms and limitations of this advanced fabrication technique were challenging, but allowed the team to strive for innovation and create an integrated solution. As a truly one of a kind form, the final form was driven by the need for creative solutions to design constraints. Addressing the issues directed the end solution and set the project parameters including the logistics of the assembly, the selection and availability of plastic to use for printing; printing constraints like speed, bead size, temperature and times; panel sizes for weight and ease of transport, the connection details between the panels and other materials, and integrating structure into the panel design for rigidity.

The materials of the Kooky Cubby were selected to heighten the tactile quality of the panel forms to create a sensory experience with the addition of light and colour, whilst addressing the technical considerations of UV stability, biodegradability and weather resistance.

A cubby like no other, the Kooky Cubby is a small space that represents and promotes the possibilities of collaborative innovation. The explorative journey undertaken to design and build the Kooky Cubby is as important as the imaginative nature of play that the cubby will inspire.


Our Team & the Process

FMSA Architecture teamed up with the Architectural Robotics Lab within the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University, and creative partners Upstream Studio and Aurecon to design and fabricate a small innovative and unique piece of architecture, the Kooky Cubby.

The challenge gave our team an opportunity to not only give back to the community, but also push our design knowledge and strive for innovation by engaging with new technology.

By engaging with leaders in industry and academics, the Kooky Cubby showcases the possibilities for the advanced digital technology to design and print the components for the built environment.

Our goal was to explore and redefine how play spaces are built and experienced with the bonus of introducing and inspiring today’s youth to the opportunities and possibilities in design thinking to create innovative design and technology.

The Process

Following the announcement of our participation in the 2017 Cubby House Challenge in October 2016, our team were hard at work designing our one of a kind cubby house. We set ourselves the challenge of using advanced design and technology to design and build the cubby. As a result the process taken to transform the idea into a real life organic play space was a complex challenge for everyone involved. Milestones along the way included:

  • An early highlight in the design process was the kids design workshop we held at Footscray West Primary School. Students from the grade one and two junior council got to experience the Kooky Cubby using virtual reality goggles. The feedback from the kids was great and the design team took their ideas on board as they continued to refine our concept and design. We also took the virtual reality goggles for a spin in the studio which gave the team a unique experience walking through the early form.
  • In December we started prototyping the design using the advanced digital 3D printer at the RMIT d_Lab. Early testing focused on speed and temperature test prints with the plastic from Plasgroup that we intend to use to produce our cubby house. A series of prototypes were produced after much trial, error and tweaking to deliver a solution.
  • Throughout December and January, the design team including Upstream Studio, Aurecon, and RMIT d_Lab  held workshops to finalise the technical details of the design and printing process.
  • The cubby house designs were officially revealed by Kids Under Cover on January 20th 2017 – check out the wide range of ideas the 5 teams came up with here
  • Printing of the 8 panels was completed thanks to our project partner RMIT Architectural Robotics Lab in February.
  • Following the completion of the printing process, the assembly process began at our cubby construction homebase at Bowens North Melbourne.
  • 1 week before the start of the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show, the Kooky Cubby made the journey up the hill to its new home in the Cubby House Village. There the team continued to put the finishing touches on the cubby ready for the auction and display.
  • The team officially finished working on the Kooky Cubby on the Sunday 27th March. The next day the official proceedings began starting with the judging by the Challenge judges.

Throughout the project we shared regular updates on our new section , social media channels and Facebook album– visit to relive the journey.


Project Team

Principal Partners

FMSA Architecture

RMIT Architectural Robotics Lab http://architecturalrobotics.org/

Creative Partners

Upstream Studio   http://www.upstreamstudio.com.au/

Aurecon   http://www.aurecongroup.com

Projects Partners

Bowens North Melbourne    http://bowens.com.au/

Footscray West Primary School http://fwps.vic.edu.au/


Project Suppliers & Advisers

Plasgroup – Supply & technical advice http://plasgroup.com.au/

Julie Mirabile: Colour Specialist  – colour & technical paint advice Julie Mirabile profile


In Kind Sponsors 

Thank you to our in kind sponsors for their generosity in supporting the making of the Kooky Cubby.

Cubby flooring:  Bolon Flooring http://www.bolon.com/

Lighting supplier:  Q industries http://www.qindustries.com.au/

Lighting installation: Stowe Australia http://www.stoweaustralia.com.au/

Supply of perspex for coloured acrylic roof: QAQ Decorative Screens http://www.qaq.com.au/

Synthetic turf: Leisurescape Pro-Turf http://leisurescapeproturf.com.au/

Steel structure fabrication: Walsh Industries  contact

Vinyl wall material: Armstrong Australia http://www.armstrong-aust.com.au/

External cladding panel: Colorbond steel http://colorbond.com/

Supply of paint: Dulux Australia https://www.dulux.com.au/

Painting of roof panels: Brushed in Painting Services

Northern ARC Health & Wellbeing Precinct Masterplan

In 2014 FMSA and Tract Consultants worked together in association to develop a masterplan for the Northern Arc Health and Wellbeing Precinct. Components of the project include a new health & aquatic centre, library, medical clinic community facilities and associated landscaping, car parking and road works.

FMSA provided consultation, briefing, masterplanning and architectural input into this early phase of the project. A functional brief was developed through extensive consultation with stakeholder groups including the City of Greater Geelong Council, individual councillors, and various government departments, and community groups, residents, Barwon Health, library staff, numerous specialist consultants and a project control group.


Differing engagement tools were used to ensure full understanding of the interests of each group. These included: PCG meetings, consultant meetings, workshops with invited stakeholders (up to 100 people), listening posts and a dedicated website.

*Video produced by Tract Media