Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Nov-Dec 2011 Contents "Our vision was to take the facility
beyond that of one which just served a
person's clinical needs...The design had
to provide an improvement in lifestyle
and quality of life for the residents.
"But to make that design work, we
had to have passion and a vision. You need
good design to provide an opportunity for
community integration and then the vision
to implement it.
"If you don't have both then it will
fall over." n
they need to know in order to adequately
deliver a residential aged care facility that
integrates community through its design.
"CEOs don't know enough. At one
point, when I was the CEO of Villa Maria,
I had never worked with an architect
to deliver a house and all of a sudden I
was [involved in delivering] a 520-bed
aged care facility... Some CEOs are more
experienced than others but [designing
and constructing an aged care facility] is
not something you do every day."
Most importantly, CEOs and project
managers will need the ability to
adequately brief architects on their exact
wants and desired social outcomes.
Otherwise, Naufal says, in the absence
of a good brief, the architect will deliver
what they know.
"The architect will also need to think
more creatively about consulting with the
community to deliver solutions."
Director of seniors living at
ThomsonAdsett, Matthew Hutchinson,
says design briefs where the primary
outcome is community integration are
"But, if a client has a strong social agenda,
I'd love to help them to make that happen."
He welcomes Naufal's suggestions.
"Roland's comments are fair. Maybe
we, as architects, should be asking
the client about having community
integration as an outcome during the
briefing discussion -- even if it is a no,
maybe we should ask: 'Are you interested
in engaging with the community and how
would you like to do that?'
"Perhaps we can also offer more
creative ideas but with [more creative
ideas] often comes a capital cost. So do you
[spend more] to build a rental space with
a fully commercial centre and lease it out
to allow the residents to engage with the
community [or save the money]? That is
the question the providers have to ask, pay
for and take the risk associated with it."
No doubt this was also a question
that Holding and the ABH board had to
ask themselves. Luckily, the answer was
in favour of a design brief that placed
community integration at the top of the
"The capital works associated with
the café was about $180,000 or so,"
Holding recalls. " We are only a single site
organisation so that was quite an amount."
"Last year, we lost $80,000 in this
endeavour to order to integrate the
community. But, by the end of the
year, the trend was towards break even
[because of the money earned from the
commercial aspects of the development].
This financial year we are expecting that
we will break even or do a bit better."
The expense, he says, was initially
a lot to bear but the organisation "from
the board down" was committed to the
process and aware of the costs involved
with giving the facility a new look, feel
AN INTERNATIONAL EXAMPLE
Located in the London borough of
Southwark, Darwin Court is owned
and operated by the social housing
The six-storey mixed-use building,
constructed in 2007, features
accommodation for people aged 50 and
over (76 rented one and two bedroom
apartments which includes 16 flats for
frail older people), a range of community
facilities, and was designed with the
aims of community integration and the
promotion of healthy living.
It has a resource centre, pool, café,
IT suite, fitness and activity rooms, which
are free to all residents and open to local
people. The design offers a calm but
assured street presence; its social life
located in its centre on the ground floor
hub with a pool beyond (used by both the
residents and local community), and a front
door with a large cafe sign inviting local
people into the facility.
Access to the building is well
organised. Residents can choose to enter
their flats more privately, via two lift and
stair corridors from a quiet street on the
park side of the building; or more publicly,
through the main entrance.
The development makes connections
with the local community, and -- at the
same time -- combats the often negative
image associated with social housing
associations and specifically, housing for
AN AUSSIE EXAMPLE
Baptist Community Services is currently
constructing a new sustainable "community
for life" seniors' village in Sydney's north-
western suburb, Kellyville.
"The whole premise is about integrating
the facility with the community rather
than creating a 'gated' community," says
its designer -- the principal architect at
Mcfadyen Architects, Peter Mcfayden.
"It's about making the facility accessible
to the external community -- even visually.
Instead of having a three-metre high
brickwork fence around its borders, we
have a landscaped fence between the
apartments. So for all intensive purposes,
you can see through the village and into
the community. There's also a large area of
common, open space."
But while the visual impact of a building
is important, he believes there are a host
of other design factors that must be
considered to fully integrate an aged care
facility into the community.
"It's also about the way the village
relates to the site. In this instance there
was a significant amount of bushland on
site [the Cumberland State Forest] so we
decided to integrate that into the village
as the main landscaping feature. We
recognised the character of the site and
reflected it in the design".
The facility will benefit from
surrounding area facilities and the future
development of the proposed Balmoral
Road Transit Centre nearby. Building
orientation and location within the site
have also been carefully considered to
maximise the use of the microclimate,
including a favourable northerly aspect
and prevailing breezes.
An artist impression of the Baptist
Community Services village in Kellyville
(NSW) which is currently being constructed.
Peabody's Darwin Court in London
44 | NOVEMBER -- DECEMBER 2011 | AAA
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