A holistic approach to care spaces

Monday, 25 July, 2022

A holistic approach to care spaces

A modern environment that is inspiring and engaging — supporting independent living with professional care, while fostering a sense of home and community. This was Luson Health’s brief to CHT Architects when planning the development for a boutique aged care home in the outer-Melbourne suburb of Clyde North.

Commissioned by family-owned aged care provider Luson Health, the project aimed to address a growing desire for aged care environments, supporting the full range of social, recreational, aesthetic and practical needs of aged care residents and their families.

From the outset, CHT set out to inject the feeling of a community shopping strip into the facility, and this was created through the inclusion of elements such as a hairdressing salon, allied health suites, a cinema, gym, library and shared outdoor spaces — all of which provide convenience for residents, while facilitating social engagement and interaction.

Delivered through CHT Architects’ collaboration with Fynnan Construction, SORA Interior Architecture & Design and procurement company Detail Furniture + Lighting, the Bloom project, completed in October 2021, provides modern living and lifestyle facilities more commonly associated with a luxury hotel or high-end retirement community.

“Each of the spacious private rooms includes an ensuite and abundant natural light, and there are also areas in the development dedicated to private dining and extended levels of clinical care,” said David Carabott, Managing Director of CHT Architects.

“At the same time, residents are encouraged to engage in entertainment activities and social interaction, through the inclusion of shared amenities such as a cinema, cafe, gym, library, guest lounge and central dining area, as well as extensive outdoor entertaining areas and gardens.”

Greenfield site

Built on a greenfield site at the gateway of a new subdivision development, the double-storey Bloom project features underground parking and underground service areas that include a laundry, staff rooms and maintenance facilities.

“We sited the main building axis with a north/south orientation, to ensure all residents enjoy generous sunlight, and the rooms have been arranged into wings, which branch out from a two-storey entrance volume,” Carabott said.

“Nurse stations and other support functions are discretely distributed throughout the residence to provide for maximum staff efficiency through reduction of staff travel.”

Carabott said the exterior design uses pitches roofs, standing seam cladding and vertical fenestration, in “a gentle composition that evokes the rural context of the site”.

Cost efficiency

“Through careful planning, efficient floorplans and smart material selection, as well as efficient and durable construction methodology and facade treatment, we were able to complete the project with great cost efficiency.

“This is an outcome of CHT having resources and efficient collaboration practices with the project team to plan, design and construct the entire project — which led to enormous cost-efficiencies, streamlined communication and enhanced collaboration with the client group,” he said.

“Having a single point of contact made the design and build experience much more pleasant for the client too.

“The client also liked the fact that ESD was integral to our design from the start — not an add-on — which has increased the project life cycle and will reduce operating costs.

Continuous feedback loops

Carabott said that innovative design ideas and sector-specific forward planning for the project — in close collaboration with the client — led to design elements that promote staff comfort and wellbeing, while lowering ongoing running and staff costs.

“For example, due to our establishment of continuous feedback loops with the client, we were able to incorporate a COVID-safe contingency into the design, including integrated, easy-to-service sanitation stations and the ability to ‘close-off’ wings of the building if required,” he said.

“Our continuous review of staff and food models also informed many of our design decisions, such as having more storage cupboards closer to rooms and ensuring the access of the kitchen to rooms was as efficient as possible, to maximise food freshness and staff efficiency.”

Images: Oliver Lagasca

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