Should Architecture Be More Than Just A Building? Part 03: Community Incubators

In celebrating our upcoming theme, Hybrid, we want to look at how architecture can work harder to function as more than just a building.

Architecture is an art form that the public has no choice but to experience. More often than not, the public experiences architecture without thinking much of it. Buildings are necessary shelter, but how can they do more for a community? Beyond just protecting them from the elements?

The new Gurriny Yealamucka Health and Wellbeing Centre (GYHWC) by People Oriented Design (POD), with Coburn Architecture, asked the question of the brief… how can we do more? In a recent article for Architecture AU, Carroll Go-Sam summarised the highly successful and considered outcome:

“The practice identified opportunities to maximize Indigenous economic benefits at multiple levels, exceeding the requirements for Indigenous employment, training, suppliers and engagement – and all within a tight contractual timeframe.”

Outside of Australia, we always come back to Lina Bo Bardi’s SESC Pompeia. The iconic adaptive reuse project generously returned a disused building to the local community and created one of the most successful examples of socially minded architecture to date.

These projects both pose the question to architects, could your projects be doing more for the community?