Court Services Victoria
Melbourne Children's Court
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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.