Peacock Centre Redevelopment


Mental Health Facility

In 2016, North Hobart’s Peacock Centre was significantly damaged by arson.  The facility had been the base for southern Tasmanian mental health services, and the opportunity was seized to implement a new approach to mental health care in a redeveloped facility on the site.

Xsquared Architects developed a vision for the new Centre as a multi-service facility for people with mental health issues, which would support their personal agency and empowerment and contribute to a sustainable community in accordance with the world standard Trieste Model of mental health care.

The design replaces a 1960s addition with a new building, lengthening and widening as it extends towards Elphinstone Road. This creates an enclosing “L” shape and allows the building to recede into the site slope. Building design focusses on the qualities of light, space, colour, materiality and the outdoor environment. New elements are calming and beautiful, with a strong emphasis on natural materials and landscape.

Interiors also play a key role in the ambience and performance of the Centre. In response to the WELL Building Standards ambitions embedded within the project, high value is placed on indoor environmental quality, movement, thermal comfort, acoustics, mental health, and community.

The redevelopment includes twelve short stay bedrooms, spaces for communal visitors, personal reflection, treatment/counselling, a small Safe Haven cafe with a kitchen, and ancillary and multipurpose spaces for staff and users. New and restored landscaping and the impressively restored Greenhouse provide external reflection spaces, with outside areas open to the broader community.

A second devastating arson attack on 24 December 2021 consumed large parts of the completed work as well as causing significant additional damage to the original heritage listed ‘Ruardean’ building. Notwithstanding the major hurdles encountered, the Peacock Centre has been successfully reinstated as a notable feature of the North Hobart urban environment and has been widely welcomed as a contributor to cultural sustainability, not least for long term users who have regained access to a place that has given them comfort over many years.

The redevelopment restores and enhances vital mental health services in southern Tasmania and continues the important legacy of W.D. Peacock.

Commendation for Heritage

At the 2024 Tasmanian Architecture Awards the Peacock Centre received a Commendation for Heritage. The jury citation stated:

“The architects have shown a commendable commitment and skill in addressing the heritage values of this 100+ year-old building. The attention to detail is particularly noteworthy, such as the solid timber staircase and the lead lights throughout. The jury was impressed by the rebuild of the historically significant yet severely dilapidated on-site greenhouse. The latter adds a layer of delight and functionality for the users of the Peacock Centre, an important heritage asset for the state.”

Photos by Natasha Mulhall