Back to News

Engineering Childhood Experiences

Throughout his career, Inertia’s Mario Darmanin has been responsible for the engineering design, development and delivery of world class projects in Australia, Qatar, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, projects that have shaped the skylines of their locations. Projects such as the $3bn New Doha Port Project, Qatar; $1.5bn All Seasons Place in Bangkok, Thailand; Abu Dhabi’s Zayed University and Siemen’s Regional HQ in Abu Dhabi, a project which achieved LEED Platinum status and won several Internal AECOM and UAE Awards for Innovation, have provided Mario with a unique perspective on design.

But it is his current project for Avenues Group’s, Emerald Little Lane brand in South Melbourne that is firing Mario’s imagination, as innovative design thinking is transforming a traditional approach into something truly spectacular. Located in South Melbourne, and currently entering the construction phase, Emerald Place will be a childcare centre that takes a truly unique and innovative approach to creating an environment designed and engineered to create childhood experiences.

We caught up with Mario to talk about what makes this project so inspirational “Picture every child care centre that you have visited, by and large, they are the same. There hasn’t been a lot of evolution in their design, what we are working on for Emerald Little Lane, rips up the design manual and truly reinvents the learning environment for an inner-city child-care facility, Tezuka Architects have broken the barriers of traditional Childcare Centre and truly stepped up in their Innovations behind the design of this early learning centre-Kids will be running around ramped playgrounds, climbing on safe climbing walls and admiring near-by vegetation at the same time” said Mario.

Designed by a global partnership of Tokyo’s Tezuka Architects and Brisbane’s Milton Architects, the core elements of the centre are based on the foundation that design projects should embrace a natural life.

The centre will sit at the heart of an Education Precinct that combines Victoria’s first government vertical school, parklands, training facilities, retail and dining establishments and South Melbourne Market. A stone’s throw from Melbourne Convention and Exhibition centre and access to public transport and the South Bank, the location cannot be described and anything other than inner-city.

“When you look at the designs that we are helping to make a reality, you understand how important the architect’s design philosophy has been. In an inner-city setting the temptation would have been to enclose the centre, to keep the kids inside and to make their natural environment closed off and inaccessible. The design does the opposite, it creates highly interesting and engaging environments that interact with the city, it keeps children connected with the place they call home, rather than locking them away for the day.”

“There are some great features that are a lot of fun to engineer. From climbing ramps to wide expanses of glass, timber decks that reach out to the skyline and elevated play spaces, the centre takes what could easily have been indoors and makes it an outdoor environment that will encourage children to run, jump and play.”

“The development of the education precinct shows what can happen when vision is combined with high-class urban planning and will be a case study for how education and community infrastructure can enhance an environment and enrich the local community,” said Mario.

Inertia is providing structural, civil and flood management engineering services to the project and look forward to seeing the centre open and operational in approximately 12 months. To find out more or to understand how Inertia can bring our passion to your project please contact Mario.