Sisters of Mercy
For 110 years, the Sisters of Mercy have provided services and programs for homeless and at-risk women and children through medium term supported accommodation, transitional housing, targeted educational programs, therapeutic group work, home visiting services, counselling services and supported playgroups at the Centre at Baulkham Hills. More than 4000 children were cared for during these years. From the 1970s, further developments saw the Centre include supported accommodation for women and children at risk; long day care; family day care; play group programs; occasional day child care; and the provision of accommodation for families of people in hospital. In 2012, Sisters of Mercy Parramatta announced plans to close their St Michael’s Family Centre in Baulkham Hills and to explore new ways to continue to address the needs of women and children at risk. This proposal for the Baulkham Hills site is part of a renewed ministry.
Architectural design of two seniors living buildings comprising 27 apartments including accessible dwellings and communal open space. The proposal addresses the community needs through providing affordable safe housing for vulnerable Senior women.
The design is restrained using simple forms modulated to suit the topography of the site and the functional programme of the buildings, combined with a palette of simple robust materials that reflect the previous built history of the site. Attention has been paid to balancing the proportion of voids to solid surfaces in a manner that reflects the functional arrangements within the building. Outdoor private open space on the northern facades in the form of balconies and ground level terraces have been articulated to provide functional outdoor living areas that contribute to the overall building aesthetic. The entries are visible from the main arrival points and are visually reinforced by the use of covered pergolas and retention of the existing Jacaranda tree that is of emotional significance to the Sisters of Mercy.