Foyer Central is a partnership between Uniting, SVA and SGCH. It has a shared vision and commitment to providing young people with a lived history of out-of-home care a place to live and learn in a safe and supported community as they transition to independent living in Chippendale.
Uniting, SVA and SGCH
DKO was engaged by SGCH and Hutchinson Builders. The team and Uniting drew inspiration from other Foyer housing models in Australia to learn from the best features and seek advice. The development delivers an inspiring and functional design fit-for-purpose accommodation in a well-connected location which reflects the surrounding heritage conversation area.
Social and environmental sustainability was fundamental to the design. Affordable housing, by definition, must be affordable to access, live in, and maintain – for operators and residents. Robust materials that require little maintenance were selected, and a range of energy-efficient measures were employed to provide a more sustainable building, helping reduce the client’s operating costs and assisting occupants to save on energy bills and minimise their environmental impact.
Shared spaces are integral to the design, promoting a sense of community. The Foyer Central common open space and landscaping elements have been designed to be visually appealing and interactive to create a sense of home and help facilitate life skills. A communal kitchen with large tables and a central island high-top bench encourages various uses and meal sharing. Concertina doors open to a generously landscaped courtyard with outdoor dining tables and ample space for group gatherings. Affordable housing residents enjoy a rooftop terrace overlooking Victoria Park to the University of Sydney with informal seating and an edible garden designed as an outdoor retreat promoting social connectivity.
The site’s location was pivotal to supporting the overall intent of a Youth Foyer housing model to assist young people at risk of homelessness transition to independent living through education, training and employment pathways. Foyer Central is near three universities, TAFE and job opportunities.
This project is an example of true collaboration. Foyer Central has benefited from the input, ideas, expertise, and capability of countless people within the NSW Government, the City of Sydney, the local community, landscape architects Oculus and partners SGCH, Uniting and Social Ventures Australia, with a shared commitment to finding a better way to ensure that young people and people on lower incomes have access to opportunity. More than 85 neighbouring properties and local businesses were visited as part of a targeted engagement strategy. All these findings informed the design.