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Rushall Park

By

  • MGS Architects
  • Atkins Consulting
  • Manresa Constructions
  • Bonacci
  • SJB Planning

Description

Rushall Park expands upon the built legacy of the State’s oldest retirement village provider, the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria who commissioned MGS Architects to design 35 one and two-bedroom independent living units on the last remaining potential development site within the historic village boundaries in North Fitzroy. Comprising three separate buildings that snake along the (very) adjacent South Morang train line, the project brings a forgotten corner of the site to life, completing the extraordinary work started more than one and a half centuries ago by a community that strongly cherished its older retired citizens.

Key Features

1

1. Rushall Park is a carefully considered architectural design with an aesthetic characterised by the amalgamation of heritage-driven textures and tones, innovative construction techniques and an expressive building form.
2. The highly functional buildings deliver a sense of place, identity and whimsy. Honest materials, durable finishes, and an abundance of natural light ensure both public and private spaces are pleasant and inviting.
3. There is a detailed understanding of the particular requirements of the residents evidenced in all aspects of the design, from the planning and layout to the detailed functionality of kitchens and bathrooms.

2

1. ‘Designing for dementia’ was critical when developing the interior environment including material selections, lighting and layout.
2. The building has an important social impact. By negotiating a medium density building onto the site, an increased number of residents have access to high quality, permanent housing. This efficiency is not at the expense of functionality, flexibility and dignity, but rather validates the medium density model as a viable aging in place proposition.
3. The existing setting is characterised by extensive established gardens, many requiring irrigation and maintenance. Water is harvested from the building and reused throughout the village.

3

1. Rushall Park is evidence that aged care projects can be innovative and exciting while also being respectful, resident-oriented and dignified. Its ambitious design language is not submissive or trend-driven; it is a bona fide response to the site and the people that live there.
2. The project shows how the aging in place typology can meld with the complexities of contemporary building procurement and provides a model for future development, particularly in the adaptation of complicated, inner-urban and inner-suburban sites.

4

1. The response to the important heritage of the site is both nuanced and ambitious. The building settles into its context through manipulation of brick colour and texture and the selection of a striking yet complimentary, material palette.
2. Eschewing conventional low-density typologies, these medium density buildings support the elderly residents with welcoming and functional shared areas that create a sense of community and identity.
3. Acting as an interface between the adjacent rail line and the 19th century cottages requires a robust, durable and acoustically sound façade on one side, and an elegantly scaled assemblage to the other.

5

“MGS and their team delivered design solutions that are sensitive to the existing built environment while incorporating quality design principles that recognise the needs of older people.” Phil Wohlers, CEO, OCAV

The bricks were custom made by Brickworks but have since been incorporated into their standard range – an example of design influencing production

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