Reimagining Where We Live

Client: Australian Government, Department of Health and Aged Care
Location: Regional Victoria
Status: First Prize (Regional Site) Competition Entry
Year: 2023
Project Team: Monash Urban Lab with NMBW Architecture Studio, BoardGrove Architects, BLOXAS, Glas Landscape Architects
Team members: Mel Dodd, Maryam Gusheh, Catherine Murphy, Nigel Bertram, Lucinda McLean, Marika Neustupny, Holly Board, Peter Grove, Anthony Clarke, Mark Gillingham, Jasmine Ong, Olivia Basile, Lochlan Fraser, Tiernan Lacey

Aged care  Dwelling  landscape  masterplan  public space  regional  

This is an outstanding proposition which critically addressed the Principles and Guidelines with a strong and appropriately scaled low-rise spatial program sensitively and intelligently embedded within the site context and neighbourhood.

— Jury Comment

The Reimagining Where We Live competition was run by the Australian Government’s Department of Health and Aged Care and asked architects and design professionals to help shape the aged care accommodation of the future by testing the draft National Aged Care Design Principles and Guidelines which came out of the Australian Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Our proposal, Manu Place, is a complex of shared homes in a landscape setting, where older people live dignified lives in a regional town. Blended into its neighbourhood, a patchwork of houses, cloisters, courtyards, laneways, and independent facilities, each with its own purpose and name, support flexible living patterns and enrich the rhythms of daily life. 

The layering of functions ensures a balance between residents’ privacy and control, front and back-of-house operations, resident and wider community activities, and the comings and goings of carers, workers, family, friends and community. 

Four small households, each comprised of fifteen resident rooms, are centred around cloistered courtyards that provide natural light, airflow and greenery. Adjustable openings and thresholds admit sounds and vistas of everyday life. Spatial layering within the house enables scales of privacy, from resident rooms to semi-private cloisters and shared living spaces and community courtyard gardens. The kitchen, living and dining rooms have a domestic scale and character, creating an intimate setting for home life and familiar daily routines. Proximity to neighbouring households enables the choice to engage with the larger resident group and life of the precinct. 

A variety of room types are knitted into each household, with all rooms planned with enough space for a double bed which looks towards a window. Each room has a bay window; a place to sit and watch the outside world. Rooms are designed with the ability for the resident to personalise the space. Bathrooms have views of the sky or gardens, with great access to natural light and ventilation and have enough space for carers to move within and personal hygiene equipment to be stored. All rooms have two entries – into the semi-private cloister or outwards to private verandas.

The incorporation of community facilities within the site, such as a kindergarten, depot and hall, corner café, commercial laundry and active courtyards engage with the street and invite interaction between residents, carers, their friends and families and the wider community. 

This reimagined concept of aged care foregrounds residents’ safety and support, while enabling choice, a sense of belonging, and engagement with the wider world. To live here is to feel at home.

Aged care  Dwelling  landscape  masterplan  public space  regional