The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) was founded 19 years ago and is the largest human rights organisation in Australia, providing support to people who seek asylum.
They are an independent, community-led organisation and advocate for people seeking asylum and deliver more services on the ground than any other independent asylum seeker organisation in the country.
The centre came about as a TAFE project in 2001, when teacher, Kon Karapanagiotidis discovered that people seeking asylum were living in the community with virtually no basic support.
Architecture & Access have been providing pro-bono support since late 2018, along with many others including Bates Smart and Garner Davis Architects, on the development of the new Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Integrated Services Hub in Dandenong, in Melbourne’s south-east suburbs.
The existing well located building in Thomas Street, Dandenong, does present many ‘Access’ related challenges. Originally home to the Dandenong Sewerage Authority, the building is located on a sloping site from back to front, with the ground floor level 600mm above footpath level. Internally, there are five different floor levels with stairs, connecting these series of split floors. To contain costs, it was determined to retain and refurbish as much of the existing building structure as possible, and work with that to achieve a functional outcome for the ASRC. Internally the building will contain;
New works to enable access to services and facilities within the building include; ramp access from the footpath to the ground floor entry level, access from car parking at the rear of the site, lift access to the upper levels, new sanitary facilities including accessible toilets on the two main floor levels, upgrading of stairs to meet current building code requirements and new internal fitout of offices, meeting rooms and joinery.
This is a very important project for the ASRC and will provide the organisation’s first permanent home, supporting people by delivering place-based holistic services in conjunction with local service providers. Architecture & Access has been a long standing supporter of the ASRC via volunteer work and food donations to the ASRC Footscray Foodbank.