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Reimagining Where We Live

11 Jun 2024

The Reimagining Where We Live: Design Ideas Competition, run by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, invited architects and designers to help shape the aged care accommodation of the future. Entrants were asked to test the draft National Aged Care Design Principles and Guidelines by using them to design innovative aged care homes that are welcoming, safe, accessible, and dementia-friendly.

OCULUS collaborated with Jacqueline Bartholomeusz, David Sutherland, and Lorraine Calder to design the Highly Commended Canopy scheme – a seniors living environment where private and socialisation spaces are woven together with a verdant landscape.

The design team set out to develop a scheme that supports personal dignity, comfort, and friendship, with an inherent connection to nature. The proposition merges family clusters and personal resident rooms within an organic circulation and socialisation spatial weave bounded by landscape. Cascading gardens with innovative and functional ‘tree columns’ and a ‘main street activity centre’ hold this two-neighbourhood building composition together.

The jury commended the significant areas of landscape and vegetation – at all levels and in multiple locations – as being of real value to residents and staff, providing a sensory natural environment of pleasure and beauty within the urban context.  

OCULUS Senior Associate Peta Miskovich said, “It was an interesting and rewarding experience, discussing the intricacies of designing for aged care and examining how we might improve the overall quality of living for residents.”

The competition was endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects and the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. Fifty entries were received, demonstrating the commitment of designers to the future of aged care accommodation in Australia.

Read the Jury Report here.

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