The Connection

  • The Connection
    Ariel view of The Connection.
  • The Connection
    The space is used by students for homework and extra curricular activities.
  • The Connection
    The Learning Space.
  • The Connection
    Flexible seating in The Learning Space.
  • The Connection
    Clear signposting helps with way finding.
  • The Connection
    Bright colours and landscaping give the precinct a vibrant atmosphere.
  • The Connection
    Aerial view featuring the shared path, river and amphitheater.
  • The Connection
    Men’s Tech Shed is a new weekly get-together for those who want to make things, learn new skills, meet people and contribute to the community.
  • The Connection
    The Learning Space is a hands-on environment which focuses on emerging technologies.
  • The Connection
    The Event Space is used to host a wedding.
  • The Connection
    Theater style seating can host 419 people.
  • The Connection
    Aerial view of The Connection and surrounds.
  • The Connection
    Playgroups are held in The Meeting Spaces.

The Connection in Rhodes is a community precinct located on the foreshore of Homebush Bay, comprising of four separate buildings including The Learning Space, The Event Space, The Meeting Space, and Bare Witness restaurant, each catering to different needs of the community. The purpose of the project was to meet the varied needs and uses of the current community as well as the anticipated requirements of future residents. The Connection has successfully met this brief through the design and construction of flexible spaces that can transform and evolve over time, as community needs change.

Description of project

The Connection was conceived and managed by the City of Canada Bay, constructed in 2016 and opened to the public in 2017. The need for the project evolved from the redevelopment of the Rhodes Peninsula and the growing requirements of the new communities residing within the local government area. As part of the Rhodes Peninsula Masterplan, the need for community facilities and open spaces were identified as vital requirements given the type of development, its location, accessibility and needs of the current and future community.

The planning and development process began with the establishment of the project brief, project plan and scoping statement. This required the input of a range of internal and external stakeholders including State Government, residents, community groups and associations, local businesses, developers, neighbouring councils and project consultants. Beyond understanding the current needs of the community, Council also wanted to ensure the project was designed and constructed in a manner which complemented the long-term plans of developers, neighbouring councils and Roads and Maritime Service, Transport NSW and other utilities in the area.

Ultimately, the careful planning and consultation led to the design and delivery of a modern, multi-purpose community precinct that provides services and programs for the growing and changing needs of the population. As The Connection is located in close proximity to established and newly constructed high density residential areas, this space is paramount to the vitality of the community. 

The project includes:

  • The Event Space, a multipurpose auditorium hall, comprising of two combinable rooms totalling 440 square metres which is suitable for large scale events between 300-400 people and includes a kitchen and outdoor terrace.
  • The Learning Space, providing a vibrant and welcoming space to gather, study, meet and work. Operated by City of Canada Bay Libraries, facilities include high speed Wi-Fi, printing, 3D printing, A0 plotter, die cutter, sound recording and rehearsal capabilities, photography and video studio equipment, robotics and electronics. The Learning Space is a hands-on environment which focuses on emerging technologies, providing courses, drop-ins and sessions for all ages.
  • The Meeting Space, consisting of four small, self-service rooms that can be adapted to a variety of uses or combined to create larger rooms, including a deck / outdoor area, natural light and floor to ceiling windows, inbuilt AV and automated access.
  • External spaces for the whole community including innovative waterplay, green ‘rooms’ and open outdoor spaces.
  • Restaurant and café on the waterfront, offering a relaxed casual dining experience where diners can enjoy breakfast through to dinner and drinks inside and out, overlooking Homebush Bay.
  • Large scale public artwork, connecting internal and external spaces.
  • Reconfigured car parking area, with additional bicycle parking.
  • Additional seating, trees, water play, water bubblers and public toilets.
Project team
  • The City of Canada Bay Council
  • Crone Architects
  • Kane Construction
Project cost

$23 million

Health value

A range of health, fitness and well-being activities, sessions and seminars are hosted at the centre. Examples include meditation and martial arts courses and Ballet for children.

The facility has also become a walking destination. The precinct is located along the Homebush Bay Circuit for walkers and cyclists and adjacent to the new Bennelong Bridge carrying pedestrians, cyclists and public transport between Rhodes Peninsula and Wentworth Point.

The precinct also includes several outdoor amenities such as an innovative waterplay area, bicycle parking, seating, trees, water bubbler, and public toilets, which encourage residents and visitors to visit the outdoor space and promotes active use. 

Economic value

The precinct has boosted visitation to the area, as it attracts people to come to the various spaces for meetings, seminars, studying and dining.

The precinct attracts visitors from outside the community, thus exposing people from other areas to local businesses and services.

The precinct has also provided opportunities for individuals to establish or expand their own business (i.e. regular hirers in The Meeting Space) or to use The Learning Space as a free co-working location.

The Learning Space contributes to education through the provision of a space for people to study, and attend education courses through seminars and short courses.

Establishment of a new business, the restaurant, providing employment opportunities and purchasing of locally sourced products. 

Environmental value

The Connection is a Green Star rated building utilising renewable materials and incorporating green technologies such as solar to reduce costs and environmental impact.

A key aspect of the precinct was that it was located on a former heavy industry site which due to the construction of the precinct was remediated, and in turn had a positive contribution on utilising a once contaminated, lesser desired site.

Social value

The Learning Space promotes collaboration, group learning and individual study, while providing the opportunity to meet new people and develop lasting relationships.

The facility boosts social capital and community empowerment via the opportunity to either facilitate or participate in activities and events.

The Event Space allows the community to host events, which boost social interaction.

Outdoor lighting, late opening hours and increased pedestrian traffic, contribute to and further enhance the community’s sense of safety in the area. 

Use value

Access to public open space for walking, jogging, fitness, or as a meeting place which fosters social interaction.

The Learning Space, with its open library experience, is an ideal location for private study or work, without cost or booking.

Location to engage with public art and displays.

Hosts a variety of programs, courses and events on diverse topics which interest a range of audiences, providing visitors and residents with social and educational opportunities. 

Type of project
Building, Local Government Initiative, Public Open Space
Scale of project
Local Area