Centre of Learning for Family Violence

Victoria Police Centre of Learning for Family Violence

Following a competitive tender process, builder Ireland Brown Construction and FMSA Architecture were engaged by Victoria Police to deliver a new training and office accommodation facility under a design and construct arrangement. Designed and built in 10 months, the new ‘Centre of Learning for Family Violence’ collocates practical training spaces for cadets with office accommodation for Victoria Police Academy staff.

The state of the art facility includes the first scenario training facility dedicated to family violence in Australia. The space is adaptable to a number of scenarios using division curtains and adaptable entries to simulate different socio-economic domestic situations. The space will be used by trainees including cadets, superintendents, commander, lawyers, prosecutors and investigators.

The building is divided into two wings connected by a central open atrium featuring skylights reflecting the Victoria Police sillitoe tartan pattern. The building accommodates a 60 seat auditorium, 15 syndicate rooms, training rooms, offices, separate staff and cadet mess and amenities facilities, conference and meeting rooms. Training spaces are fitted with state of the art video technology that allows scenario training sessions to be live streamed to trainees on and off campus.

The main features of the building include glazed façade, metal cladding, composite timber cladding, sizeable female and male change areas, exposed aggregate pathways, a large canopy to the entry/external courtyards and a terrace overlooking the main academy building.

The aim of the design was to enhance the presence of the main academy structure and existing landscape. This has been achieved through the layout and the orienting the building towards the existing historic seminary building and curving the form to follow the existing curved pathway through the campus.

Photographer: Rachael Dere

Video: Victoria Police

CSV Security & Asset Program

In 2016 FMSA Architecture was engaged by Courts Services Victoria as Principal Consultant for the Asset & Security Redevelopment Program. The program focuses on the upgrade and expansion of 16 existing Victorian metropolitan and regional court complexes to ensure that the facilities meet the current CSV operational and security guidelines. The goal was to create a ‘safe and secure facility’ for all Courts staff and members of the public visiting the courts.

The Program was initiated to address the operational issues of the ageing assets which contributed to an inability to meet OHS requirements for staff, and security of all occupants in general, and in relation to new Family Violence objectives.

For many reasons Courthouses and registries are places of potential stress and conflict for users. Our design response responded to this issue in a consistent manner across all sites because of tailored consultation with CSV assets team and stakeholders at the individual sites. The construction and delivery of the upgrades will occur in live environments with minimal disruption to ongoing service activities and ensuring safety to all users.

As Principal Consultants, our scope of services ranged from the development and documentation of architectural solutions through project phases – from feasibility to contract administration – in liaison with CSV and the CSV appointed Project Manager, Johnstaff.

The program delivery was packaged in 2 tranches over a two-year period in line with funding requirements. Project scope ranged from minor upgrades, to the reconfiguration of internal spaces and minor extensions, to major alterations and additions.

With works undertaken concurrently at 16 existing courts facilities in regional and metropolitan Melbourne, our Design Team was structured to ensure efficient and consistent design and delivery. Led by a common Project Director and Project Leader, the projects were divided among supporting Project Architects based on location, scope and tranche.

Melbourne Children’s Court Foyer, Waiting Areas + Playground

As part of the CSV Asset & Security Redevelopment Program, FMSA was responsible for the redevelopment of several areas in the Melbourne Children’s Court including the waiting area, foyer and existing children’s services spaces including the playground.

Our approach in designing each of the children’s spaces was to create environment that was interactive, welcoming and comfortable for children.  With individual challenges and requirements for each space, the design outcomes are a result of a collaborative effort between FMSA and MCC.

From the foyer and waiting areas to the children’s spaces; a common palette of colours, textures and shapes were used to create spaces that are comforting and playful, whilst supporting the commercial and operational needs of the court environment. Acoustic panels and furniture placement were tools to address security and acoustic issues throughout.

The objective in redeveloping the outdoor courtyard playground was to reduce the institutional aesthetic to create a more engaging and inviting spaces. Keeping the existing statues and trees, the new Playground introduces colour and artificial grass to delineate circulation and seating spaces. New furniture with organic shapes, texture, bright colours and natural materials such as timber are incorporated to create an engaging play area. External blackboards outside the playroom provide additional passive play for the children and adults to use.

Our interior design team worked closely with Court Services Victoria, Children’s Court of Victoria and key stakeholders including the DHHS to deliver an innovative environment that responds to the needs and interests of children.

Melbourne Magistrates Court fitouts

FMSA was engaged to provide interior design services under a design and construct contract for the refurbishment of staff, counter and back of house spaces at the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

The solution focused on improving workspace efficiency by introducing custom storage, filing and breakout spaces. FMSA consulted with the staff to understand the issues and filing requirements, and developed multiple storage solutions including movable boxes, ergonomic bench tops and file sorting pigeonholes. The result is a more efficient and calm workplace that incorporates plantings, natural textures and surfaces.

FMSA Architecture worked closely with Built, Court Services Victoria and furniture supplier UCI to ensure that we met their desired design, layout, finishes where employees would feel welcome to this new modern and vibrant workspace.  

Photographer: Rachael Dere

Melbourne Children’s Court Cubby House

The Cubby House is a sanctuary for children attending the Melbourne Children’s Court in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services. Commissioned by Children’s Court Victoria, and facilitated by Court Service Victoria, it’s the second Cubby House in the program initiated by the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.

The solution was informed by the Children’s Court Victoria’s (CCV) vision to create an innovative children’s space that is safe, calming and engaging; learning from the pilot Cubby House program, and consultation with key stakeholders including the Alannah Madeline Foundation (AMF) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The redevelopment of the existing Child Room, an L-shaped space oriented towards DHHS observation room, presented security restrictions including no external play space. Collaboration with CCV staff fostered the Tree House concept inspired by the tradition of treehouses as places for retreat and imaginative play. With no external play area, the concept introduces the essence of the outdoors in the detailing and material selection including haptic wall murals featuring trees with moveable ‘leaf’ elements, floor treatments representing pebbles and grass, hidden nooks and concealed furniture.

Recessed themed pods for quiet, play, reading and AMF’s youth worker desk delineate the compact 36m2 space and maintain physical and acoustic security. The soothing material and colour palette draw inspiration from the colours and textures found in nature. Soft surfaces and corners support the sensory concept, the outcome being a safe children’s environment that provides the inspiration for children to create their own story.

The Cubby House includes many innovations designed to create a purposeful, functional and engaging environment. The compact 36 m2 space integrates multi-functional joinery, storage and play elements to maximise the user experience and spatial use. Storage is integrated throughout including under seats, lockable cabinets and recessed in bench kitchenette storage and bins. Display cabinets, and a retractable pull out table are integrated into the joinery to minimise loose furniture and play items without impacting observation lines.

Interactive and imaginative play is encouraged through recessed nooks and seating, display surfaces and removable shapes users can rearrange on the wall mural.

Southern Peninsula Trade Training Centre

The Southern Peninsula Trade Training Centre (SPTTC) is a new training facility with industry standard equipment to accommodate vocational certificate training courses on behalf of a cluster of 6 secondary schools in Mornington Peninsula area.

The new facility, located at the Chisholm Institute of TAFE Mornington Peninsula Campus, includes specialised workshops for carpentry, electronics engineering, technician’s workshops, multi trade outdoor area and storage, two general purpose classrooms, allied health skills simulation labs, office and staff room, student lounge and ancillary facilities.


Photographer: Latreille Architectural Photography

Wesley College Visual Arts and Design Precinct

Located in the heritage listed former Royal Victorian Institute of the Blind, the new Wesley College Visual Arts and Design Precinct provides state-of-the-art learning spaces for Middle and Senior School students including specialised art, photography, 3D printing and sculpture studios; multi-purpose classrooms, library and an exhibition foyer.

FMSA’s design sensitively restores the original heritage features of the historic building which was originally constructed in 1866, while integrating contemporary technology and materials to form an engaging educational environment. The heavy bluestone of the exterior is balanced using a curated colour and natural material palette that introduces a modern lightness to the spaces.

As Lead Consultant, FMSA worked closely with the College Visual Arts Department, consultant team and contractors to deliver a renewed facility that breathes life into the historic building and creates flexible and specialist spaces for students to craft their artistic skills.

Richmond Rowing Club

Located on the banks of the Yarra River, the new extension of the Richmond Rowing Club creates an elegant bookend to the iconic recreational rowing shed precinct.

Jointly funded by the Richmond Rowing Club and Methodist Ladies’ College, FMSA was engaged to design the additions, doubling the existing footprint of the original 1960’s brutalist style concrete structure.

The new ‘wing’ incorporates expanded boat and equipment storage at ground level, with a new flexible space providing spaces for training, education and functions on the level above orientated around an outdoor deck overlooking the Yarra River and Melbourne City skyline.

Delineating between the past and the present, the new addition is characterised by the striking timber battened exterior and ‘jewel box’ effect created by the glazing on the upper level. The concrete-and-glass balcony ties together the original and the new, with the terrace providing much-needed outdoor space to take advantage of both the northern light and the unrivalled views of Melbourne.

Internally, the basket weave style plywood ceiling designed by FMSA in the previous refurbishment is continued across the new addition, contrasting the concrete block work and glazing.

The new Richmond Rowing Club addresses the city, the gardens and the river to create a subtle architectural expression of rowing and the sporting culture.

Photographer: Latreille Architectural Photography

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.