Healthy ageing requires the architecture of Claremont on the Park to provide a strong “sense of coherence”. The key design principal of creating a sense of familiarity commences at the accommodation for the resident, where they are provided with accommodation that is self-contained and resembles a home rather than the traditional nursing home room. The accommodation rooms or apartments provide opportunity for the ageing resident to live independently or receive care to the extent they need. Spatial planning, inbuilt joinery, materials and finishes palettes in the apartments and throughout the project are derived from sources that are familiar to the resident, particularly in their early years, to reinforce familiarity and to provide a non threatening environment. While the project is effectively a nursing home, the focus on health and wellness rather than disease and frailty requires clever solutions that provide a safe environment without appearing institutional. The provision of no steps, handrails, mobility aids, care support facilities are effectively disguised into the architecture.
HEALTHY AGEING IS THE PROCESS OF SLOWING DOWN, PHYSICALLY AND COGNITIVELY, WHILE RESILIENTLY ADAPTING AND COMPENSATING TO FUNCTION SUCCESSFULLY AND PARTICIPATE IN ALL AREAS OF ONE’S LIFE
The spatial planning of the project is centred around a Leisure Centre, a central building that houses communal resident facilities, administration and care support. Circulation throughout the project leads to the Leisure Centre – with pathways that contain resting spaces, places to engage with other residents and are wide enough to accommodate mobility devices such as gophers. The pathways also provide a number of clear markers that provide reference points and legibility so that elderly residents can easily make their way back to their own apartment.
To avoid the elderly adult being overwhelmed, the homes are grouped in clusters to create smaller neighbourhoods within a larger community. Within that neighbourhood, the elderly adult can engage with their neighbours, share cups of tea and create their own independent support networks. Two storey voids are created throughout the five storey building at changes of direction. They become local neighbourhood gardens where residents reconnect with activities they would have undertaken in their own homes. If a physical ailments limit an elderly residents mobility, and they are unable to wander far, there is a sky garden nearby for the resident to enjoy. As most residents will also come from single lot housing, the neighbourhood gardens again provide familiarity to the new experience of living in an apartment building.