The internationally renowned architect Glenn Murcutt has been commissioned by children's charity Royal Far West to design extensions to its beachfront headquarters at Manly in Sydney.
Mr Murcutt will work closely with another accomplished architect and designer, Angelo Candalepas of Candalepas Associates, to create the new campus, that will allow Royal Far West to grow its work to help country kids in need.
"Our vision is to deliver a beautifully integrated health and wellbeing campus that is inclusive, open and innovative," Royal Far West chief executive Lindsay Cane said.
The Royal Far West charity brings country children in need of assistance to Manly, where they can receive specialist health services while enjoying the warm hospitality of the local community and the warm climate of the beachside suburb.
"Glenn, as a former local, intimately knows the micro-climate, light and landscape of Manly," Ms Cane said.
Mr Murcutt said he was honoured to accept the commission and was excited to partner with Royal Far West on their vision for the transformation of the site.
"Having grown up in Clontarf and attended the former Manly Boys High School, I've been well aware of the great service provided by Royal Far West over many decades and have recently seen the challenges they face with their growing service demand," he said.
"By opening up the site, Angelo and I intend to deliver on Royal Far West's inspired vision of a wellbeing campus that will not only help secure [its] future in a highly responsible way, but also allow the charity to grow and help more and more country children."
Mr Murcutt is one of Australia's best-known architects, and the only Australian to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize in Architecture, which he won in 2002, in recognition of his innovative and environmentally sensitive buildings.
Mr Murcutt is known for a portfolio of landmark projects, including the Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre (in collaboration with Wendy Lewin and Reginald Lark), the Australian Islamic Centre, Australian Islamic Mission Mosque (in collaboration with Hakan Elevli), and most recently the MPavilion (with assistance from Jonathan Temple), which is to be installed in Melbourne's Queen Victoria Gardens this summer.
Mr Candalepas' long history of awards includes the Australian Institute of Architects Sulman Medal for Public Architecture in 2009 and 2018, the Frederick Romberg National Architecture Award in 2011, the Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture in 2016 and the Aaron M Bolot Award for Residential Architecture four times. In 2016 he was awarded the Premier's Award for Architecture in NSW.
Ms Cane said the expansion of the Manly campus was vital to ensure Royal Far West could meet the demands of the future.
FAST FACTS ABOUT ROYAL FAR WEST
- Children living in rural and remote areas of Australia are five times more likely to have developmental challenges compared to city kids.
- One in three country children are unable to access the health services they need.
"Royal Far West is expanding rapidly in an effort to meet the rising challenge of country kids in need. In the last 10 years we have grown tenfold in terms of the numbers of people we have supported," she said.
"In the next 10 years we will have a greater challenge again. In addition to expanding our footprint we'll also be investigating ways the campus can provide co-locating opportunities for organisations aligned with our values as well as residential, retail and commercial opportunities that will safeguard the charity's future for the next 100 years."
Ms Cane said the charity was seeing a growing prevalence of behavioural, mental health, speech and language challenges in regional areas.
"Coupled with a gross inequity of services between city and country, [that is] is driving the unrelenting demand for our services," she said.
Royal Far West is one of Australia's oldest charities and is the only national charity dedicated to the developmental health and wellbeing of country kids.
With its team of more than 75 paediatric specialists, Royal Far West supports children aged 2 to 12 with a range of concerns including speech and language delays, behavioural and conduct disorders, early life trauma and mental illness, autism, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders.
The centre at Manly is supported with outreach services via Telecare and in local communities.