The Dream Lab

The Dream Lab

LAVA Architects
Parramatta NSW, Australia | View Map
Année du projet

Peter Bennetts

The Dream Lab

LAVA Architects en tant que Architectes.

The "Dream Lab" transforms a 1830s cottage in Parramatta - a former lolly shop - into a dream-like, fluid, continuous space for writing workshops and storytelling to encourage creativity in kids in western Sydney. LAVA and the Glue Society have collaborated again to create a visionary space for the Story Factory, a not-for-profit creative writing centre for young people.


Chris Bosse, director of LAVA, said: “The architectural concept was to connect the four separate rooms in this heritage building with a continuous ribbon, to promote creative thinking with non linear solutions. Like pouring a bucket of creativity into the spaces, it flows throughout the rooms and splashes out onto the street.” ‘Dream Lab’ brings the space to life and merges past, present and future. The concept is realised with a series of free flowing timber elements that meander through the space and create seating, shelving, flooring and lighting. Crafted from the same material they provide spatial continuity to enhance the flowing experience.


A light cloud in between the roof rafters and an infinity chandelier cut out of a single sheet of perspex add to the drama of the space. “We are taught to think in boxes and straight lines. The Parramatta centre breaks these rules and introduces meandering lines that connect diverse spaces, and rather than limiting us, they stimulate our thinking.” The flexible spaces allow for various configurations for different types of workshops, events and performances. Bosse added: “It's a continuation of the Story Factory Redfern - stimulating creativity through spatial differentiation. But the space is a bit more mature, less child-like, because the target is older children and young teenagers.” “It’s interesting to think how architectural experiences early in life shape our creativity and our perception and our outlook on life.


I think back to my own childhood - my kindergarten in Stuttgart was 500m away from one of the most creative think tanks of the 1970s, the Institute for Lightweight Structures founded by Frei Otto, the architect of the Munich Olympic roof. I remember it looking like a pirate ship from inside with its huge mast and membrane structure. This was the moment I knew I wanted to be a designer!!” The challenges were how to comply with council and heritage regulations and affordably modernise and merge the old and new parts of the building.


Listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register the two-storey Georgian style building, the former de Brole Plater Confectionery Shop, is typical of the stone buildings that characterised the townscape of nineteenth century Parramatta. The new centre builds on the success of the Martian Embassy Redfern established in 2012 where over 17,000 children have participated in workshops. Cath Keenan, SF director, said: “The design has played a crucial role in sparking young people's creativity.


Redfern and Parramatta share a vocabulary, but are unique. I love that.” Students: “This is the coolest building I’ve ever been in.” Teachers: "I wish I had something like this when I was a kid." The objectives are to improve written and oral communication skills, enhance self-confidence, nurture creativity, and deepen engagement with learning. This new and expanded second base will add to Parramatta’s reinvigoration and cultural identity.


Material Used:

1. Ceiling ribs - Plywood

2. Walls -Bricks

3. Windows - Steel

4. Floors - Concrete and floorboards

5. Furniture - All custom made plywood

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