Architect's Glenn Murcutt's vision for Royal Far West’s new Manly campus

Architect's Glenn Murcutt's vision for Royal Far West’s new Manly campus
Architect's Glenn Murcutt's vision for Royal Far West’s new Manly campus

Internationally-renowned architect, Glenn Murcutt has been commissioned by 95-year-old Australian charity Royal Far West, to design the approved masterplan for its beachfront headquarters at Manly. 

Mr Murcutt (pictured left) will work closely with accomplished architect and designer, Angelo Candalepas (pictured middle) of Candalepas Associates, to create a campus for Royal Far West, to allow the charity to grow its work for country kids in need and future-proof its service for the next 100 years.

RFW CEO, Lindsay Cane AM (pictured right) says “Our vision is to deliver a beautifully integrated health and wellbeing “campus” that is inclusive, open and innovative – one that draws different people and local businesses together as a community to support our work of bringing vulnerable country kids to the beach to receive specialist health services while enjoying the warm hospitality of the local community.

“We chose to partner with Glenn and Angelo as they represent iconic, accomplished architectural talent for an iconic site – not only are they globally acclaimed, but Glenn, as a former local, intimately knows the micro-climate, light and landscape of Manly."

Mr Murcutt said he was excited to partner with RFW on their joint vision for the transformation of the site.

“Having grown up in Clontarf and attended the former Manly Boys High School, I’ve been well aware of the great service provided by RFW over many decades and have recently seen the challenges they face with their growing service demand,” he explained. 

“By opening up the site, Angelo and I intend to deliver on RFW’s inspired vision of a wellbeing campus that will not only help secure RFW’s future in a highly responsible way, but also allow the charity to grow and help more and more country children. 

“We are also aligned with RFW in that we see this commission as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give back to Manly by supporting local jobs and existing businesses and improving the Manly visitation experience. By rejuvenating the southern portion of this site, we intend to unlock its great potential.”

Murcutt is the visionary behind a portfolio of landmark projects, including the Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre (in collaboration with Wendy Lewin and Reginald Lark), Australian Islamic Centre, Australian Islamic Mission Mosque (in collaboration with Hakan Elevli), and most recently the MPavilion (with assistance from Jonathan Temple), which is to be installed in Melbourne's Queen Victoria Gardens this summer.

Candalepas’ long history of awards includes the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Sulman Medal for Public Architecture in 2009 and 2018, the Frederick Romberg National Architecture Award in 2011, the Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture in 2016 and the Aaron M Bolot Award for Residential Architecture four times. In 2016 he was also awarded the Premier’s Award for Architecture in NSW.

When asked for clues regarding their design for the campus, Mr Candalepas advised:

“We feel a deep responsibility for RFW and Manly and their shared history, and this site, this client and this brief are all incredible – Glenn and I are both nervous and excited about the possibilities latent in this context.

“Architecture is only ever able to be created in context and through a deep understanding of history, and this collaboration can be imagined as something able to produce extraordinary outcomes, but there is a need for a reticence in the approach, a need for a quietness and a deeper need for understanding essential parts of the landscape.” 

Ms Cane also explained the importance of the project to RFW.

“We have a unique understanding of the often-harsh realities of country life, where the growing prevalence of behavioural, mental health, speech and language challenges, coupled with a gross inequity of services between city and country, is driving the unrelenting demand for our services,” she said.

 “RFW is expanding rapidly in an effort to meet the rising challenge of country kids in need – in the last 10 years we have grown ten-fold in terms of the numbers of people we have supported.

“In the next 10 years we will have a greater challenge again – in addition to expanding our footprint we’ll also be investigating ways the campus can provide co-locating opportunities for organisations aligned with our values as well as residential, retail and commercial opportunities that will safeguard the charity’s future for the next 100 years.


Campus Glenn Murcutt

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