Educational Architecture: An Industrial Daycare Center |
Child’s Play Hits New Heights in this High Rise Daycare Center

Child’s Play Hits New Heights in this High Rise Daycare Center

Mixing contemporary design with child-friendly functionality

Written by –
Jess Ng
on November 18th 2018
Born and raised in the UK, Jess is NONAGON’s resident historian turned marketer turned writer, drawn to Hong Kong by the lure of dim sum breakfasts and bustling city life. A foodie who loves to cook, food occupies 70% of her brain 90% of the time. When not eating, Jess can typically be found buried in a book or obsessing over making NONAGON’s Instagram #feedgoals.

Skyplay North Perth School of Learning


Designing for kids is far from child’s play. How do you balance aesthetic beauty with child-friendly functionality? Infantile stimulation with, well, taste? Nevertheless, against all odds, the team behind the brand new Skyplay North Perth School of Learning have somehow done it with aplomb. Let’s take a closer look at this unique take on educational architecture.

Educational Architecture: Bright contemporary daycare center with industrial concrete walls, playful sandbox and indoor trees |

Educational Architecture Re-Imagined

With its double-height floor-to-ceiling windows and industrial accents, Skyplay is worlds away from your typical daycare setup, which is just what its architects intended.

Educational Architecture: Brutalist-inspired exterior concrete facade of Skyplay daycare center with covered terrace |

Spread over three floors, the visually striking design is the creative brainchild of architects Tom Godden and Matthew Crawford. Together, the duo sought to design a sophisticated building for children ‘unlike others they’d so frequently come across’. “The design was inspired by the plasticity of so many existing childcare centers,” explains Godden — “a what not to do approach.”

Educational Architecture: Exterior facade of Skyplay's heritage Police Station block with red brick detail |

Modern Heritage

Given its modest 1,550-meter-square (16,684 sq. ft.) size and the pre-existing heritage-listed Police Station, this compact suburban site demanded an altogether different design approach to the projects Godden and Crawford typically work on. The Police Station is “an iconic piece of Australian Architecture. [As such,] we sought to place the Police Station at the top of the design,” shares Godden.

Educational Architecture: Exterior facade of the red brick heritage Police Station turned Skyplay daycare center |

The Police Station makes up the rear of the site, sitting behind a brutalist-inspired three storey form which houses the heart of the daycare center.

Educational Architecture: Contemporary brutalist exterior facade of the Skyplay daycare center |

“Prior to project inception, the site was poorly maintained and the heritage building highly dilapidated. A meticulous process of uncovering the original building fabric and assessing dilapidation ensured [it] was honored back into the forefront of public regard.” — Godden.

Educational Architecture: Contemporary daycare center boasts a natural organic aesthetic and statement indoor tree design |

An Industrial Revolution

Inside, off-form concrete and plywood panel walls are the perfect foil to the interior’s colorful toys and playful furniture. It’s an unexpected juxtaposition, given the typically foreboding nature of the industrial brutalist style — but it surprisingly works. The organic aesthetic lends the space an air of calm and serenity, regardless of how rowdy class gets! Overall, the bright synthetic design usually associated with kids spaces has been replaced with naturally durable yet beautiful materials.

Educational Architecture: Double height interior of Skyplay daycare center with organic industrial aesthetic and living indoor tree accent |

“As the architects, walking into the center and witnessing the joy and awe of the children exploring the spaces we drew on paper months before continues to bring us satisfaction and accomplishment.” — Godden.

Educational Architecture: Industrial-inspired indoor atrium of Skyplay daycare center with interior windows and natural plant accents |

Au Naturale

This focus on nature is an obvious running theme in Skyplay. There’s the statement trees and sandbox for instance, which have been sensitively incorporated inside the building. Also note the use of large glass windows, which allows for a visual connection to nature at all times.

Educational Architecture: Skyplay daycare center boasts a contemporary organic industrial aesthetic and lots of big windows |

Throughout Skyplay, all of the indoor spaces are directly adjacent to covered outdoor play areas which kids can play in all year round. What a great way to ensure a holistic learning environment!

Final Thoughts

Having set out to create a daycare like no other, it’s safe to say that Godden and Crawford absolutely succeeded. At first glance, Skyplay more closely resembles the office of a trendy Silicon Valley start-up. However, underlying the clever design and impressive statement accents is a sense of playfulness which makes the space fit for its youthful occupants. All in all, Skyplay successfully combines fresh contemporary design with all the necessary functionality required for a child-friendly environment. Now if only I could go back to being a kid again …

What do you make of this unique take on educational architecture?


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