- Via Architects
With large private suites, a boutique café, hairdressing salon, movie theatre and intimate dining and lounge rooms, Arcare Templestowe breaks the conventional aged care approach and reimagines spaces for later in life as premium, connected, inspiring and aspirational. VIA Architects and the Arcare design team have taken a fresh approach to the way residents will experience, interact and inhabit the space. High-quality materials, light-filled spaces, and a strong connection to the environment raise the bar on lifestyle and remove the stigma typically associated with aged care facilities.
A high-end aesthetic has been achieved with careful attention to spatial layout, furniture, fittings and fixtures. We aimed to create an aspirational space that reconceptualises this next stage in life as a place to carry on hobbies and relationships. Friends and family are equally welcome to enjoy the space with residents.
The bright entrance hall draws in views of the beautiful landscaping outside. The open plan layout creates a sense of freedom and independence for residents, and yet excellent visual connectivity supports staff to see and care for them. The facility is an attractive workplace for high-calibre healthcare professionals.
With a planning permit in place, and limits on height and footprint, there were significant constraints in achieving the programming aspirations of the client. The design has successfully navigated the balance of operational considerations and residents’ aspirations.
At a micro level, the design creates a sense of connected community for residents and their families, and encourages interaction with nature for mental stimulation and wellbeing. On a macro scale, this design is a precedent that contributes to the wider conversation about ageing in place and with dignity in Australia and serves as a precedent for others designing for this sector.
We worked hard to create design solutions that counteract the isolation and mobility challenges many residents may experience, with community connectivity enabled by form being key to the design approach. A warm, welcoming aesthetic is created through quality materials, finishes and furniture, with a prominent feature – the undulating ‘tree’ canopy of the dorma roof – complementing this while creating a theatrical sense of place. Our conversations with the client, Arcare, were inspired by international best practice, and the principles underpinning this design – aspiration, openness, community, safety, encouragement, engagement – will inspire future facilities and reflect the Arcare ethos.
By borrowing across shared spaces, we reallocated living quarters and unlocked large communal areas. The complex geometry of the cathedral roof required 3D modelling and photographic VR experiences prior to build. The feature light in the foyer was specially commissioned: we married professional trades and artist skills to bring the creative vision to life. Lighting is actively controlled over the day to encourage residents to experience the natural rhythm of day and night. Zero thresholds create a seamless integration between indoor and outdoor and minimise potential trip hazards. The openness inspires courage to take part in Arcare’s lifestyle offerings.
A significant uplift in the indoor environment has been created by bringing the outside in, with high ceilings and excellent natural light. Lighting, acoustic and thermal comfort have been carefully designed to ensure year-round comfort.