K20 Architecture takes a deep dive into their design and the importance of The Basin Community House with Manager Heather McTaggart. The centre situated at the foot of The Dandenong Ranges is an integral part of the Knox City Council’s local community for its ability to bring people together and a safe, open gathering place. K20 Architecture responded to the brief by creating a welcoming, open space. The space is the “meeting place for the community to come and socialise, particularly those that are socially isolated, wanting to learn new skills, people returning to work, upgrading IT skills,” says McTaggart.

The Basin Community House is run by a group of inspirational women and is in its 31st year of operation. The centre was originally established for childcare but has morphed into a very substantial neighbourhood and community house. The area itself is mixed, with varying social classes, religious affiliations, people who have just moved and people who have lived here all their lives – so it is a special place. By using a vacant site located next to the Basin Primary School this will allow them to “connect with the parents returning to work, [and] isolated mums or dads,” says McTaggart.

The Centre offers a wide range of programs from health and wellbeing, yoga, Pilates, meditations, cooking, to personal computer training. These IT programs are particularly beneficial for elderly persons wanting to connect with family and friends more through Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp.

“We look to meet the needs of the community… with an ageing population in the basin it will bring in more programs here like strength training for seniors, self-defence for women… all sorts of things we are able to run now in this brilliant facility,” McTaggart explains.

Located in a picturesque semi-rural setting the hardwood decking and timber oil façade allows for it to blend into the urban landscape in which it stands. The entrance, which provides disability access welcomes incomers with open arms, to be met with tall ceilings and a long reception area. The interior is easy to navigate around, has fresh air flowing throughout and plenty of storage space for supplies. Each classroom features carbon neutral carpet from Interface, and acoustic tiled ceiling to ensure sound does not leak. McTaggart explains that she is “absolutely delighted to be in a modern, multipurpose facility that will meet the needs of the community.”

It is imperative that communities have a place where they can connect and gather, and at The Basin Community House they are reaching beyond macramé, knitting and other general group activities. They have a large contract with the Department of Justice and Community Safety, which entails running a lot of programs for offenders, this is conducted on site in community corrections or in national parks. And on top of this a lot of the Indigenous community are getting involved by coming to the centre and teaching basket weaving and the didgeridoo. This is hugely beneficial for the local community and “the basin community are loving it because they are being exposed to stuff that normal community houses probably wouldn’t do without this partnership,” says McTaggart.

In terms of the input and what design and development needs were required for the Basin Community House McTaggart was actively involved, and proclaims that the final product “exceeded expectations and in awe of how big it is.”

McTaggart future hopes for the Community House are purely to “build…grow, [and] have more programs with more diversity and [a] higher participation rate.”


Above image: Heather McTaggart Manager of Community House

The Basin Primary School

The Basin Primary School

“We are really delighted with this new building and increasing the space… for our students and being able to provide learning opportunities,” says Graeme Russell, The Basin Primary School’s Principle for over 14 years.


The Department of Education and Training (DET) assigned $7.1 million of funding to The Basin Primary School to help provide and upgrade its facilities to be more modern, inspiring learning spaces and give students a sense of ownership of their classroom. k20 Architecture were proud to have been given the opportunity to team up with the school to be its project lead architect to design, deliver and administer from start to finish for the substantial additions and alterations to the existing Basin Primary School. The k20 Architecture team worked closely with Graeme Russell the school’s Principle to assure they delivered what the school wanted to achieve, which was a new school that enhances the learning environment and capabilities of its students, whilst working within the cultural identity of the school. Construction commenced in April 2017 and was completed in just 12 months.

The Basin Primary School is situated in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, and occupies 13 acres of land in which the staff and children are provided with what is described as a "Unique Environment for Learning". The school officially opened in 1879, when early settlers from Germany and Holland petitioned the Board of Education for a school. The culture of this school started because “it is welcoming and friendly and they look out for each other and it’s what drew me to this school so that culture has continued all the way along,” says Russell.

The Basin Primary School has been delivering quality education to the local and surrounding community for over 120 years. The school is proud of this history “and we all do our bit to make sure we nurture and pass on that culture the kids and the staff that come after us,” explains Russell.

The process involved designing and delivering a new multipurpose state of the art gymnasium and performing arts arena, admin building, the renovation of 11 classrooms and modernising the existing school buildings. Russell and the school were involved in this process from the early stages of design until completion. The whole school community including parents, kids, teachers and even some retired staff members were involved “to consult with the community and see what they wanted to see so that’s very much what the design was based upon,” says Russell.

The school loves the new gymnasium and performing arts arena which Russell describes enthusiastically as “very impressive… It’s just wonderful having the facility, big difference.”

Russell stresses the importance of having up to date facilities and connection the gymnasium and the performing arts centre was important to the school and the kids. As a result, they have got the Basin Wildcats basketball club that now have far more numbers of students participating in the new facility than they did previously. Community involvement remains to be one of the school’s greatest strengths and the school continues to promote this by encouraging local organisations to make full use of the grounds. The school can how provide a full time Physical Education program and sporting events with the new facilities.

“It was important to us and great design from k20 Architecture to actually extend it and bring it up to the size that it needed to be… So that’s quite special and quite unique,” says Russell.

Russell explains in awe of the way k20 Architecture has transformed the school “I am really happy with the design – we love it.”

Above image: Graeme Russell Principle of The Basin Primary School