This project takes inspiration from a recurring argument in the submitted objections against the demolition of Headstart Nursery School in Morningside: a defence for the historical significance of the building and its social role in the Morningside community.
The building initially started out as a grocery store in the 1920s, which was then converted into a hairdresser some decades later until it became a nursery in the 1990s. What should be noted here is that the building has always been a place for the locals to gather and socialise (in this mostly residential district). The townhouses scheme proposed by Block Nine Architects, on the other hand, aims to turn such place into a private property, discontinuing its history as a social hub. And thus, I would like to propose an alternative future for this site.
In order to honour the memories of the locals who had spent their childhood in this nursery, the new development will retain its function as a children’s space. In addition, in order to further amplify its ability to function as a social hub, I have decided to add the function of a cafe - thus, coming up with a play cafe that is open to both children and their parents. The programmatic organisation is arranged to encourage children and parents to be in the same space, aiming to foster intergenerational socialisation.
The new development will see greater utilisation of the surrounding greenery, particularly the neighbouring Morningside Park - not just to create a pleasant outdoor environment for children, but also on a conceptual level of creating a strong bond with the nature. Meanwhile, there will be an efforts to retain/reuse as many components as possible, both for the sake of preserving the history of the building and sustainability.