Brighton Street Early Learning Centre

Danielle Brustman Studio with Perkins Architects

Brighton Street Early Learning Centre is situated in a repurposed Brutalist building that was being converted into an early education centre in inner city Melbourne in the suburb of Cremorne.

The project involved the design of eight interior playrooms, bathrooms, sleep spaces, staff areas and reception area that would sit well within the architectural design and align with the philosophies and style of the education.

Drawing on early education philosophies, including play-based learning and the Reggio Emilia approach, each playroom has its own painting sink, play space, reading nook and storage area along with educational furniture.

The spaces are stimulating and inspiring, yet gentle and balanced: child-friendly, worker-friendly, personalised and fun – all with a hand-made, natural feel. Natural and durable materials are integral.

There are murals in all rooms with flooring inlaid and theme-related shapes, while bathroom tiles have been gradated in spectrums of colour.

Some interior bones of the brutalist building remain exposed, providing unexpectedly intersections with the new surfaces. Other materials include perforated steel, rendered plaster, birch ply and ceramic tile.

The interior graphic murals, designed in relation to the motifs and hand-painted by Ben Maitland, create boats, starbursts, clouds, rainbows, waves and trees. An outdoor mural spelling out ‘Sunshine’ colours in with the smaller murals. The forest and river rooms are autumnal, the cloud and sun rooms are summery. The rooms on the ground floor relate to the earth and the rooms on the top floor respond to the sky. Each room has a unique palette and feel but the overall colour palette moves in variations gently though the building. Colour and materials guide the mood and feel throughout the centre.


Furniture: Grocorp, Gibbon Group. Lighting: Copper, JSB. Finishes: Forbo, Gibbon Group, Dulux, Porters, Laminex, Plyco, Johnston Tiles, Byzantine Design, Autex, Woodcut. Fittings & Fixtures: Roger Seller, Clarke, Reece, Zuchetti, Caroma, Hansa.


Photography: Sean Fennessy