Melbourne City Mission Frontyard

Melbourne City Mission Frontyard

Photographer: Willem-Dirk du Toit

Fender Katsalidis contributed pro-bono architecture and interior design services to a new early intervention and crisis services centre on Melbourne’s King Street.

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Melbourne, Australia


Melbourne City Mission


$9 million


1,525 sqm



Traditional Custodians

Bunurong and Wurundjeri people


  • AustralianAU Awards, Shortlisted - Social Impact, 2023
  • The Urban Developer Awards, Finalist - Hotels and Accommodation, 2020
  • Interior Design Excellence Awards, Finalist - Institutional, 2020
Photographer: Willem-Dirk du Toit

Operated by the Melbourne City Mission, the Frontyard centre comprises 18 crisis accommodation units for young people sleeping rough in the city, on-site mental health, drug and alcohol and disability expertise, and Melbourne City Mission’s own workplace. The mission describes it as a “one-stop-shop” for young people between the ages of 12 and 25 who are homeless in the city.

Clients are also offered all-day breakfasts, shower facilities, clean underwear and access to legal advice, internet access and a sensory room.

The design for the centre needed to balance the exacting requirements for its intended use, with the need to conform to building standards.

Photographer: Willem-Dirk du Toit
Photographer: Willem-Dirk du Toit

The key design intention for the redesign was to create an environment in which both the young people and staff felt calm, relaxed and comfortable. This feeling was created through a highly considered palette, maximizing the use of natural light from the existing windows and using soft colours.

Nature-inspired finishes were selected; a combination of soft timber textures and neutral hues were layered with forest greens and highlights of colour through the furniture and fixtures.

An essential inclusion was the in introduction of plants into the living areas to create a space which makes people feel safe and at ease.

Photographer: Willem-Dirk du Toit
Photographer: Willem-Dirk du Toit

What makes the Frontyard design unique is its adaptation of the new King Street space and the extent of bespoke joinery within the centre. This level of customization ensured that the design appropriately responded to the programmatic needs of the young people and staff, as well as the spatial limitations of the existing site. In particular, the reception space features a circular modular seating unit, designed to provide moments of privacy for the young people while maintaining lines of visual connection.

Photographer: Willem-Dirk du Toit
Photographer: Willem-Dirk du Toit

Leadership Team: