Matraville Youth and Community Hall

2024 Bidjigal and Gadigal Country / Matraville, NSW

Preserving a grove of native trees inpired the layout of a local hall. Find out how the design meets the needs of the local community 

Matraville Youth & Cultural Hall

2024 Bidjigal and Gadigal Country / Matraville, NSW

A grove of mature native trees determined the plan of a new community hall for Randwick Council in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. The inverted L-shaped layout allowed the trees to be retained, with a much-loved blackbutt tree informing the geometry of the entry sequence.

The new hall replaces a rundown 1950s steel-framed and clad structure. Located on a corner site and adjoining a parcel of crown reserve, the building knits the two sites together, creating a presence and drawing people in from different access points. Form and materiality are residential in scale, simple and sympathetic to the suburban context.

The local community had expressed a strong interest in facilities for dance, exercise classes and indoor sports. The flexible space features a large hall for hire, with a kitchen, accessible storage, toilets. A wide verandah surrounding the building on three sides offers additional gathering space for special events. Window openings in the hall and amenities have been carefully curated to offer expansive views to the established trees and adjacent reserve.

The entry is signposted with a playful skylight shaft of fibreglass, a beacon that lights the space and emits a soft glow at night. A wide stair and accessible pathway with shaded veranda welcome visitors into a vestibule space which features a mural by Indigenous artists Re-right Collective and local school kids. This entry lobby and a toilet corridor airlock are separated from the main hall, whilst storage is accessed directly from the main space.

The expression of the building is one of a tough, yet playful exterior, with a warm and welcoming interior. Materials have been selected to be robust, tactile, and sustainable. The exterior is painted brick in colours expressive of the local coastal environment, with corrugated zincalume steel and polycarbonate. The primary structure and internal lining are made from glue-laminated plantation hardwood timbers and the floor of Australian hardwood.

A stack effect with a high opening to the north and lower opening to the south increases natural ventilation and lighting. Large operable wall panels allow summer breezes to naturally cool the building. The southern wall is made of a translucent polycarbonate insulated wall system that allows natural light and insulation. Ceiling fans provide cooling, and in winter recirculate warm air generated by a reticulated underfloor heating system.

The nearby reserve site is activated with landscaping. Other environmentally sustainable features include solar panels, heat pump, rainwater re-use, EV chargers and dedicated EV parking spaces.

Project Team

Sam Crawford, Benjamin Chan, Ken Warr, Sofia Nay

Consultant Team

Structural & Services Engineers – Stantec
Arborist – Tree IQ
Landscape Architect – Place Design Group
Access Consultant – Funktion
BCA Consultant – Anthony Protas
Town Planning – A Square Planning
Waste Management Consultant – Dickens Solutions
K.R. Stubbs & Associates – Water Services Consultant
Day Design – Acoustic Engineer
TTPP – Traffic Engineer
Section J Consultant – Partners Energy
QS – Wilde & Woollard
PCA – CityPlan
Lobby Mural Artist – Re-Right Collective


Gartner Rose


Randwick City Council


Homepix Photography / Gartner Rose