The 'Dream Lab' is the second visionary space for the Sydney Story Factory, a not-for-profit creative writing centre for disadvantaged young people.
LAVA Architecture has completely transformed a former lolly shop, housed in an 1830's heritage cottage in Parramatta. The buildings new life houses a dream-like, fluid, continuous space for writing workshops.
The concept was to connect the four rooms of the heritage building into one flowing, interconnected space that promotes creative thinking with non-linear solutions. LAVA says the concept is much like ‘pouring a bucket of creativity into the spaces, it flows throughout the rooms and splashes out onto the street.’
The space is designed to allow flexible spaces for different types of workshops, events and performances.
Not only did the plywood provide the aesthetic and acoustic ambience to pull off the space, but LAVA states that due to the workability and availability of the material ‘this place of dreams took far less time, and money!’
The free flowing concept is realised with a series of curving timber elements made from plywood and timber veneers. The renewable material meanders through the space and morphs further into seating, shelving, flooring and lighting.
Plywood was an obvious choice for the space given its ability to bend. The textured patterns of the grain proved an excellent choice for concealing joints in the lining as well.
This flexibility was highlighted in the fabrication and construction. The ribs were CNC sliced into buildable components, then put together like a giant puzzle in an imperfect existing envelope
Employing such a unified material palette provided the spatial continuity needed for the concept. Not only this, but the hard wearing veneers form a robust surface for teenagers, whilst at the same time an inspirational aesthetic for creative writing.
The glowing yellow interior of the Story Factory is highly present in the urban fabric of the street. The warmth of the timber is a grand juxtaposition to the rest of the street, providing a comforting presense for those inside.
The warm tones of wood transformed a heritage building into a place of fantasy and fun. The immersive plywood interior provokes creativity with the natural beauty and patterns of wood a source of inspiration.
The nature of designing a structure for young inhabitants meant that seats, shelves and tables all had to be strong and durable for the hordes of active young bodies.
The fire performance of plywood was also key safety requirement.