architect, artist, academic


competition entry for aged care design competition


Centre for Life Mentors

The project engages the four principles of National Aged Care Design Principles and Guidelines through enabling architecture and dignified living, opportunities to cultivate homeliness, biophilic design connecting outdoors and nature as well as provision of social spaces and connection to community for mentoring and truth telling.

The proposal comprises of 103 units of independent dwellings, each with their own front entry and outdoor living space within five blocks as well as mixed use commercial and community facility including offices for health professionals and assisted care staffs, commercial kitchen and dining space, ground floor tenancies for barbershop, convenience store, community, multiple flexible use hall spaces that can be used for education, gallery or childcare as well as canopied rooftop outdoor gymnasium, vegetable garden and community space that allows the public to interact with seniors. Sitting at the maximum effective height of 25 meters the proposal alleviates cost pressures from fire compliance.

Integration with local community is paramount with the project, as the five blocks is derived from the urban grain of the surrounding built environment to reduce the impression of building mass and institutionality and optimising permeability and human scale and experience. On ground floor, street front carports are envisaged as flexible marquee space that can be used as weekly markets or facilitating street festivals. On east-west axis a spine is created allowing sharing of medium density community space with western neighbour whilst on the other hand pedestrian gates for connections to single dwellings pending neighbour’s opt-in. Way finding is assisted by canopy walkways that lead to social, community and vertical transportation whilst accommodations are arranged to capitalise on tree-lined street front and northeastern city views.

Biophilic design principles – or literally love-of-life, akin to life worth living – is core to the architectural materiality and landscape integration, not by emulating forms of nature but by abundant space for greenery and regenerating ecosystem through landscape design. Mass timber construction and softwood cladding and decking is opted for not just its sustainable equation but also its inherent connection to human experience as a natural material. Greenery is intertwined systematically with architecture through a chain of landscaping strategies, profuse planting alongside pathways, vertical climbers, ledge planters, terrace garden and green roof to foster continuity of greenery for the human experience as well as allowing flora and fauna to cross built environment.

With diversity of adjacencies of accomodation, spacious balcony, multipurpose community spaces as well as easily replaceable timber cladding and pegboard walls for personification and individual memorabilias, the dwellings allow adaptability for different manifestations of residents perception of home. The proposed scheme aims to redefine aged care residential not by relegating seniors to an isolated and almost-forgotten demographic of the society but by appreciating that seniors have a life’s worth of knowledge, experience, stories and memories to share to the community and by providing space and opportunities for mentoring and truth telling whilst providing dignified living and assisted medical facility, hence the title Centre for Life Mentors.

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