Salvation Army, Sydney
Redfern, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Relocating to the former South Sydney Leagues Club was a matter of considerable expense and cultural change for the Salvation Army. 450 staff collocated into 7,000 sqm spanning three levels. Bates Smart recognised the Army’s vital social contribution and offered to help, the project has been focus of our pro-bono program for the past two years.
The designers workshopped how best to unify a disparate range of Army Divisions to reinforce their team identity and develop internal efficiencies to maximise use of the challenging run-down building. Our focus was on the health and well-being of the Army - to give care to the people that care for others – our priorities were fresh air, natural light and a connection to outside spaces overlooking Redfern Oval. The diverse accommodation program included: counselling rooms; prayer/multipurpose room for 300; media room; Salvationist Supplies; breakout for 700; open-plan workspaces; meeting-rooms and a central connecting stair.
The coat of arms colours: red, blue and yellow were given new hues via satellite imagery of Australia’s landscape’s in the design concept and integrated into the three levels. Cost effective raw materials of ply and polished concrete were used alongside warm tones of timber to give a residential feel.
A simple cross of plywood is wall-mounted and backlit to maintain a powerful presence in the prayer room which also functions as a multi-purpose room for 300 people with glass sliding doors and operable walls that open onto a social space dominated by a 24 m long wool rug in the Army red.
A composition of plywood struts and laser-cut steel forms the double height reception wall, this abstract elemental arrangement was inspired by the organic connection of the Army to the local and wider community. This is a low budget project built on good will and in good faith.