Greenway Views Seniors Living, designed by Gray Puksand for LDK Healthcare and Cromwell Property, rewrites the book on design for retirement living and aged care – and it strikes a chord.
For too long, Australian aged care facilities have looked and felt as if to be some strange hybrid between hotels and hospitals. While both typologies undoubtedly have their use cases and can present comfortable living environments (albeit, in small doses) neither is particularly personable nor suited for long term residency, wouldn’t you agree? Worse still is the gaping flaw in the sector’s prevalent service model, in which the disconnect between ‘retirement living’ and ‘aged care’ sees vulnerable seniors displaced from one (more hotel-esque) home to another (more hospital-like) when age starts to demand greater physical care. Greenway Views Seniors Living by Gray Puksand, on the other hand, presents a new standard of senior living – one in which atmospheric health, ageing in place and genuine quality of life prevail.
Located in Canberra, the joint venture between LDK Healthcare and Cromwell Property and delivered by FDC Construction and Fitout breathes new life into five buildings, each with two wings, previously occupied by the Federal Government Department of Social Services. As much an exercise in human-centred design as it is a case for adaptive reuse, Gray Puksand’s design champions a resounding connection between place, community and care, while empowering residents with a deserved sense of freedom and dignity that goes unparalleled in the aged care and retirement living sectors.
The Greenway Views Seniors Living breathes new life into five buildings of two wings each, previously occupied by the Federal Government Department of Social Services. It will accommodate up to 500 occupants across 380 apartments ranging in size from 50sqm studio apartments up to 120sqm three-bedroom apartments.
The central philosophy aims to provide a better quality of life for seniors in an environment that provides a sense of wellbeing and homeliness with an approach that responds to the core values of love, decency and kindness.
“The project is designed for residents that require no care, partial care and full care and where the overarching idea is to build a home that you would want to live in or have your parents live in. Our design aims to balance the residents’ needs and aspirations with their functional needs.” – Maria Correia, Senior Associate, Gray Puksand
“The clients’ vision has been the secret ingredient for this project,” says Correia. From her humbly altruistic perspective, the design of Greenway Views was never about her aesthetic tastes as an interior designer, nor those of any other designer on the project, for that matter. It was about “tapping into the essence of people’s homes and their eclectic nature”. Quite intentionally, Correia and her team strayed away from using the most conventionally fashionable finishes and furnishings of today. Instead, the interior design takes its cues from our grandparents’ houses, as perfectly imperfect as we know and love them to be.
Greenway Views puts an end to the disconnect between retirement living and aged care, delivering the best of both worlds – community and care – in one, encompassed by the principles of ageing in place.
Above and beyond all that, the project was about rewriting the book on retirement living and aged care. That goes for everything from LDK’s business model and service design – which is most simply surmised as a scalable solution for ageing in place in vibrant, active communities – to the abandonment of conventionally contemporary finishes and furnishings and the challenge of what makes material products fit for use in senior living communities that span the spectrum of a seniors’ life journey. The result certainly seems to have struck a chord, with Correia able to share anecdotes of potential Greenway Views residents coming to view an apartment, falling in love with it and refusing to leave – even to sign the papers – for fear that another couple might come along and try to snag their new home while they were gone.
What are the sustainability features?
The buildings owned by the client had outlived their original purpose as government department accommodation. The project team analysed the existing building stock and determined that repurposing the buildings would be appropriate use of the property. The adaptive re-use of the existing buildings served as a way to save the neglected commercial buildings and re-purpose to satisfy the requirement for High Quality Senior Residential Accommodation. Adaptively reusing the buildings significantly reduces energy consumption associated with demolishing the structures and building new in replacement. Other environmentally sustainability measures undertaken as part of the development include upgrading the envelope insulation to all spaces to satisfy the latest NCC requirements, installation of roof mounted solar panels to service the entire facility, motion sensor LED lighting. Furthermore, the property has maintained the existing water course that runs through the site and adapted the landscape to adhere to the latest Bush Fire Safety Standards.