Architects Glenn Murcutt and Angelo Candalepas have been commissioned to design the new headquarters of one of Australia’s oldest charities in Sydney's Manly Beach.
A mixed-use-project, understood to have a $100 million construction cost, will deliver an integrated health and wellbeing campus for the 95-year-old charity Australian Royal Far West.
The approved masterplan for the campus will support vulnerable children from the country to receive specialist health services, connecting Australian country children to needed developmental care.
Royal Far West chief executive Lindsay Cane said the two architects will work with RFW on a design concept for the project expected to rejuvenate the southern portion of its Wentworth Street site.
“We chose to partner with Glenn and Angelo as they represent iconic, accomplished architectural talent for an iconic site,” Cane said.
Murcutt, who is the only Australian to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize in Architecture, said he was honoured to accept the commission for the project.
“Having grown up in Clontarf and attended the former Manly Boys High School, I’ve been well aware of the great service provided by RFW over many decades and have recently seen the challenges they face with their growing service demand,” Murcutt said.
Candalepas described the commission as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give back to Manly”.
“By rejuvenating the southern portion of this site, we intend to unlock its great potential,” Candalepas said.
Children living in rural and remote areas of Australia are five times more likely to have developmental challenges compared to children living in cities.
One in three country children are unable to access the health services they need; and poor access to health services for young children living in regional communities means they are more likely to end up homeless, unemployed, incarcerated, and with personal relationship difficulties.
More than 300,000 children aged 3-11 have health and developmental needs – of these, more than 100,000 country children can’t access the help needed because of where they live.
In the past 10 years RFW has grown tenfold in the number of children and families supported, it's expanding its footprint to meet the rising challenge of country kids in need.
“We feel a deep responsibility for RFW and Manly and their shared history, and this site, this client and this brief are all incredible,” Candalepas said.
“Architecture is only ever able to be created in context and through a deep understanding of history, and this collaboration can be imagined as something able to produce extraordinary outcomes.
“But there is a need for a reticence in the approach, a need for a quietness and a deeper need for understanding essential parts of the landscape,” he said.
Established in 1924, Royal Far West is also one of Manly’s largest employers with 65 per cent of staff living locally.
RFW supports children aged 2-12 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 through its team of more than 75 paediatric specialists.