Winner + Grand Prix Act for Kids Child and Family Centre of Excellence, Townsville




Hutchinson Builders


Adbri Masonry

Products Used:

Standard 200 Series Grey - Bullnose stretcher; bullnose half; bullnose H-blocks; solid capping blocks; half-bullnose half-height blocks

Building Contractor:

C N Jeffrey Blocklaying

Photography Credits:

Peter Bennetts

In the public realm, it is useful to consider the legacy of foundational buildings, and how we contextualise our own work. The ACT for Kids project at James Cook University in Townsville looked to the context of Jim Birrell’s late 1960’s foundation buildings in off-form concrete and grey face concrete blockwork, simple materials with plasticised forms. The new building contains administration, day care and therapy spaces, and deals with children who have been exposed to abuse and neglect. Conceived as a concrete block perimeter, the building is sculpted around two stands of trees, one each side of therapy spaces. A bullnosed block was used as the standard unit and laid to achieve two patterns – a double stretcher stack bond, and a double stretcher-stretcher bond. The former is used on the front façade where the unit by unit construction of the building can be felt. The latter is used on the side walls, chasing the contours up the hill. The two courses meet idiosyncratically at the acute corner of the site. The project is an architectural response to physical context and children in need of this facility. Through masonry, it offers firmness with an overriding sense of delight.