Cubby House Challenge

Grimshaw is one of five practices selected to design and build a cubby for the Kids Under Cover 2017 Cubby House Challenge. The five cubbies were auctioned at a VIP event at the 2017 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show, raising AUD$162,000 for the Kids Under Cover’s Studio Program, an early intervention strategy which helps to prevent youth homelessness.

MySpace, the cubby designed by Grimshaw, fetched AUD$21,000 and was the recipient of the Kids Choice Award, and the Most Imaginative and Interactive Award. We are honoured to have been a part of the 2017 Cubby House Challenge.

Cubby HouseThrough MySpace, Grimshaw has reconceptualised the traditional cubby, transforming the rigid building form into one that allows children to create their own space by manipulating various sized blocks across four levels. How they enter the cubby and arrange the interior is up to them – it is a non-static space that children can make their own and reinvent as they desire.

The moveable blocks have multiple uses to reinforce this sense of ownership and flexibility. They can be used to fill voids or provide openings, as furniture or storage and to house secret treasures and trinkets.

Two key workshops were held to develop the concept for MySpace. The first invited children to contribute their ideas of what constitutes the ultimate cubby. A space for flexibility, creativity and retreat were recurring themes, with orange a popular choice of colour.

The second workshop was a design charrette which offered Grimshaw’s architects the opportunity to recall their childhood cubby house dreams. The ideas were harnessed into a single concept with a strong connection to one of the architect’s memories of playing with the wooden crates in his father’s fruit and vegetable warehouse; crates were positioned to create voids to hide in or used as stepping stones to create a flexible oasis akin to a human-scale Lego set.

Cubby HouseThis concept was developed through the ethos of Grimshaw’s architectural practice; strong conceptual legibility, innovation and a rigorous approach to detailing, all underpinned by the principles of humane, enduring and sustainable design.
In turn, MySpace has been realized as a bespoke shelter which encourages confidence and creative play while offering a finely crafted installation fit for the most urbane of backyards.

Conceived as an elegant piece of joinery, the cubby’s frame has been built using 75mmx75mm Tasmanian Oak hardwood timber beams. Each member has been machine cut and routed to form a cross profile that integrates horizontal rails, allowing the boxes to be safely and easily maneuvered. With each member dowelled and glue joined to form a rigid connection there are no visible fixings. This ensures that the frame can facilitate safe vertical and horizontal movement and provide railings that may be easily held on to by small hands. Rubber matting is incorporated in the floor as a further safety measure.

The boxes within the cubby are fabricated from pine plywood. Each box is wrapped in high density foam, then covered with an external-grade colored fabric.

With a translucent polycarbonate (Danpal) roof and façade, MySpace provides a shelter which offers children a sense of concealment while providing visibility to the outside. The polycarbonate cladding system provides a clean façade finish by concealing all screw fixings. To complement the notion of a safe hideout, a yellow periscope peaks out from the roof to allow children to keep watch and observe their surroundings. Page 1 of 2 Lighting is another key feature of the cubby. Our design incorporates LED strip lighting into each internal corner of the frame to illuminate the interior and allow the cubby to ‘glow’ at night.

Grimshaw has worked closely and collaboratively with the builder and suppliers to deliver a cubby that is of the highest quality while offering a reconfigurable space to keep children intrigued – a true team effort for the benefit of the children that may make MySpace their own as well as those whom it may prevent youth homelessness for.

Architect’s Statement

Cubby House 6There was always something exciting about creating your own cubby house as a kid. Whether stacking cushions from the family sofa, draping bed sheets over the ironing board or arranging cardboard boxes to form enclosures, it allowed a sense of freedom to create and play, to be the master of one’s own universe.

This freedom of creative play is actively explored with MySpace, a cubby house designed by Grimshaw for Kids Under Cover, a not-for-profit organization which raises funds to help prevent youth homelessness.

Through MySpace we have reconceptualised the cubby, transforming the rigid building form into one that allows children to create their own space by manipulating various sized blocks over three levels. How they enter the space and arrange the interior is up to them – it is a space they can make their own and reinvent as they desire.

The moveable blocks have multiple uses to reinforce this sense of ownership and flexibility. They can be used to fill voids or provide openings, as furniture or storage and to house miniature gardens.

Two key workshops were held to develop the concept for MySpace. The first invited children to contribute their ideas of what constitutes the ultimate cubby. A space for flexibility, creativity and retreat were recurring themes, with orange a popular choice of colour.

The second workshop was an in-house design charrette offering our architects the opportunity to recall their own childhood cubby house dreams. In keeping with Grimshaw’s architectural practice, the cubby was developed from a strong concept, with the final design resulting from a deep interest in adaptable and flexible architecture and craftsmanship.

MySpace encapsulates childhood aspirations as well as a desire to empower children through their own creative play.


The ‘B&B hotel Bassin D’Arcachon’ project

A bed and breakfast designed to blend in with the natural environment, the surrounding pine forest.

LOCATION: Gujan Mestras, France
PRODUCT: Ventilated Danpal® BRV 16, 1040 mm ice, Clear Softlite, Green, Empire, 1890 m²
ARCHITECT: Arthur Péquin, Blamm Architectes, France

The ‘B&B hotel Bassin D’Arcachon’ project. long-span Danpalon® facades were used as dual-purpose wall facades. Ice, clear softlite and green colours were chosen.

THE BRIEF: This contemporary B&B hotel’s underpinning tenet was to enhance the site’s natural landscape and to conserve. The pine trees typical of the area were to be preserved and the modern architecture of the hotel was to blend into the natural surrounding environment.

LOCATION: The hotel sits in the basin of Arcachon, in a semi-urban area of Gujan-Mestras. The area receives good light, mild temperatures and a pine forest fills out the landscape. The B&B hotel faces the road with the pines filling out the backdrop.

ARCHITECT: Paris based, Blamm Architects, value interaction with the environment and conservation. Their aim is to create places that are a meeting point between:

• The natural surroundings;
• Local culture, and;
• The people.


Designed as a monolithic element, the buildings use of multiple applications of long span, glazed Danpalon® facades, gives a dense and vertical effect to the building. The 1040mm ventilated BRV 16 facades were used as wall systems covering 1890 m². Danpalon® exceeded the design objectives, sustainability goals and promoted user comfort.

Various colours of long-span Danpalon® facades were used as dual-purpose wall systems. Ice, clear softlite and green colours were chosen from the Danpalon® palette. Together, the colours pay respect to Gujan-Mestras’ natural environment and the Arcachon Bay.

Clear softlite was used at the back of the hotel to give visitors an uninhibited view of the pine trees outside. The transparent panels opened up and illuminated the interior. All while creating a crisp and vibrant exterior.

The height rises to four floors on the south side and drops to three floors on the north side. This impression of movement brings the structure to life. The Danpal Wall System reflects the forest and at night the translucent walls gives the building both an ambiguous and blurred look.

The facades saved building space by serving as exterior and interior wall systems. This suited the hotel’s brief. Where volume, height and conservation were needed, they were exceeded. This was without sacrificing room needed for hotel functioning and guest comfort.

RESULTS: The B&B Hotel in Gujan-Mestras exudes smart lines and a contemporary finish. The volumetric design and unique material choices give the hotel an edge.

As the light and landscape change throughout each day, so does the feel of the hotel. The facades react to every change of sunlight and cloud cover. As a result, the exterior and interior luminescence, shadows and reflections change. This creates a unique experience for visitors every time they stay at the B&B.

The design succeeded in paying homage to the native environment. The Bay of Arcachon and Gujan-Mestras are represented via the facades’ colours and textures. From a distance, the hotel melds naturally with its pine forest backdrop. Up close, it shimmers and reflects the light and colours of the natural landscape.

Be confident the final design will be your success with Danpal®.

We invite you to fill out the form  via out contact us page or call us directly. We will be happy to supply more information or samples required for your new projects.

The ‘B&B hotel Bassin D’Arcachon’ project. Long-span Danpalon® facades were used as dual-purpose wall systems for the building envelope. Ice, clear softlite and green colours were chosen from the Danapal colour range.



LOCATION: Liverpool (UK)

PRODUCT: Facade Danpal® Double 16, 1,040 mm, ice, 1,513 m²

ARCHITECT: David Millington, BDP (UK)

CONTRACTOR: Weatherwise (UK)


THE NEED: The triangular building of the Enterprise South Liverpool Academy (ESLA) is an educational centre that welcomes 1,100 students. Danpal’s brief was to create materials expressing the values of this place of learning.

THE DANPAL SOLUTION: A brick base represents the soundness and durability of education, upon which rests a strip of reflective aluminium, like a protective shell that surrounds the building. The strip stretches from the north entrance to the south side, where it rises to form an impressive signage before plunging and winding around the learning spaces. By contrast, right next to the school, the sports hall plays on transparency. This rectangular building, connected to the school by the aluminium strip, is covered with double skin Danpal® cladding. The Danpal® double skin system was chosen for its thermal efficiency, and the ice colour for its ability to transmit light that creates a clear, white, luminous atmosphere inside the sports room. It was also chosen for the evenness it gives to the wall. Its finish and neutral colour work very well with the aluminium, while contrasting with the solid base created by the black bricks.

THE RESULT: The materials chosen express the values of learning: a brick base for the durability of education, reflective aluminium acts as a protective shell, and the ice color Danpal® double skin system transmitting light to create a luminous atmosphere inside the sports room.


PROJECT NAME: Sports Complex

LOCATION: Alès, France

PRODUCT: Facade Danpatherm K7 Opal and Clear Softlite, 2,100 m²

ARCHITECT: Agence Didier Richard, France

CONTRACTOR: MCM Mériodionale de Constructions Métalliques, France


THE NEED: The new sports complex in Alès aspires to being a functional place, serving local schools and the city’s sports associations. “Rather than a sports palace, the mayor wanted a tool for the city, with a controlled building cost”, explains Didier Richard, the project architect.

THE DANPAL SOLUTION: Two L-shaped adjacent buildings, fully covered with Softlite clear and opal Danpatherm K7 and reinforced with high protection treatment. One is a classic design and includes a handball and basketball court with a ceiling height of 7m, while the other is lower, 4m in height, and houses martial arts rooms. “We designed two transparent and bright boxes that are neutral during the day and liven up at night thanks to the strip lights, bringing out the adhesive silhouettes of players stuck on the walls”, Didier Richard explains.

THE RESULT: During the day, the walls allow sunlight to enter whatever the time, giving the space the benefit of natural light and limiting the use of artificial lighting. The walls also provide the thermal insulation necessary for this kind of building. According to Didier Richard, “about fifteen degrees is sufficient for the activities that take place in the building. It is not heated when unused and if it gets too hot, a natural ventilation system on the roof handles the extraction of warm air”.

Wave Pulsation Along the Seine

The ‘Qwartz’ Project

A mall as beautiful as the Seine and as grand as Paris.

PROJECT NAME: La Bongarde Mall
LOCATION: Villeneuve-la-Garenne, Paris, France
PRODUCT: Danpal® Façade, 16 600 Clear Lilas, Softlite, 7000 m²
ARCHITECT: P. Pierrou – DGLA, France (Now Zuo Architecture)
ENGINEER:  Roux Ingénierie


THE BRIEF: Showcase the grand renewal of La Bongarde Mall. Promote the building with respect to the location, building use and stand out from the crowd. Be more than just a back-lit façade.

LOCATION: La Bongarde Mall covers a massive 250,000 m² triangular space. Each side of the triangular site overlooks a different part of Paris. As such, each side required a different architectural vision. The Villeneuve-la-Garenne location would span five floors. It would incorporate shopping, entertainment, dining and customer parking throughout the complex. Leasable space covered 87,000 m².

ARCHITECT: At the time of design and construction, the architect was P Pierrou of DGLA, France. Since then, DGLA merged with M+R to become ZUO (Zestful Urban Office). They specialise in architecture and urban planning that is full of zest and creativity.

Façade Panels, Wall Cladding Systems used by Danpalon Everbright Suppliers Australia. Danpal® Façade, 16 600 Clear Lilas, Softlite Qwartz Project France.


DANPAL® SOLUTIONS: The triangular site overlooks the Seine River, a lush park and the city. 16mm Danpalon® Everbright facade panels were chosen by the architects for the Seine side. The facades stretch the entire length of the 7000 m2 side of the building. The UNESCO World Heritage Seine river sparkles blue, green and white under the ever-changing sky. The Danpal Façade used on the Seine side reflects the opalescent glint and flow of the river.

The wall cladding systems were overlapped during installation rather than installed flat. Also, during installation, the facades had LED lighting installed. At night, the programmed light patterns emit a glow and pulse like the waves of the Seine. The facade panels underwent extrusion to apply Danpal’s Softlite finish. Softlite is what gives the facades an iridescent, opaline effect. Softlite’s matte finish reduces the glare that bounces up from the Seine. The facades do not add to the glare no matter how bright the Parisian summers or glare from the water.

RESULTS: A stunning façade installed with LED lighting that reflects the river’s flow. Overlapping the facades during installation was a creative choice to add depth during the day. At night the overlapping of the facades and the ever-changing programmed lighting takes the building to another level entirely.

The facades bring the building to life as if naturally in sync with the flows of the river. Qwartz truly stands out as a unique architectural statement in harmony with the location.

Do more with city lighting and facades – make your architectural statement.

Danpal facades are the go-to product for daylighting but have you considered their ability to provide city lighting? The Qwartz Shopping Mall embraces the benefits of both daylighting and night lighting. No matter what time of the day or night it is, passers-by and visitors are kept in awe of the magic of light.

Do you need help with Danpalon applications and how they may be used in your project? Contact your trusted advisors today at Danpal Australia.


PROJECT NAME: Saint Thomas Church

LOCATION: Vaulx-en-Velin, France

PRODUCT: Facade Danpal® 16 and 20, 600 mm, Clear and Ice Softlite, 850 m²

ARCHITECT: Franceenchie Cristogatin, [Siz’-ix] Architectes, France

CONTRACTOR: Franceanck Saine, France


THE NEED: To incorporate lightness and luminosity into the new Saint-Thomas church, a place of sharing and community, while conveying the idea of renewal.

THE DANPAL SOLUTION: Inside the church, Danpal created a luminous atmosphere through the interplay of bluish projections from a large vertical stained-glass window on the choir side and the warm tones of the printed curtain wall on the entrance side. Thermal constraints required a specific study which prompted the use of a Danpal® double skin for a long wall, bringing stability, light and increased depth.

Outside the church, the sun creates reflections on the crystal colour of the wall crisscrossed by yellow protruding cubes that form, in braille, the first word of the message of Saint Thomas: “Allons” (“Let us go”) – a universal message of hope, congregation and energy.

THE RESULTToday, the Saint-Thomas church is home to a thriving, highly diverse community, and is filled with song, light and luminosity every Sunday.