An Aboriginal housing provider has helped launch one of the first purpose-built Elders’ retirement villages in Australia.
The Aboriginal Community Housing Ltd (ACHL) is teaming up with a consortium of government and Aboriginal housing organisations to deliver the $12.2-million Adelaide project.
Housing Australia, the South Australian Housing Authority, the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC), and the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation (KYAC) are collaborating on the development.
As part of the funding makeup for the site, the ILSC offered a grant of $5.2 million, alongside a donation of land valued at $5.7 million, with the South Australian Housing Authority contributing a further $4 million, and an additional $3 million from the Federal Government via the National Housing Infrastructure Facility Social and Affordable Housing.
The development will consist of 40 “modern and culturally appropriate homes” for Aboriginal Elders, designed by Brent Dowsett from C4Architects.
The site is strategically located near Warriparinga and the Sturt River, locations of significance for Adelaide’s Aboriginal community, according to ACHL.
Warriparinga was a traditional ceremonial meeting place for traditional owners the Kaurna people, which was still used today and was an important part of the Tjibruke Dreaming, the organisation said.
ACHL National Manager Stacey Broadbent said it was a first for First Nations peoples in Australia.
“The KYAC Elders have been engaged consistently through the design process to capture the cultural requirements that have been requested,” she told The Urban Developer.
“The design of the site and orientation of the homes seek to capture the natural beauty of the site and provide direct links to the adjoining wetlands.
“The fire pit and nominated space for a future elder centre provide opportunities for social gatherings.
“The homes have been architecturally designed to provide a high level of amenity, including natural light, high ceilings and accessibility features that allow for ageing in place.”
The project has secured initial approvals and a full development application is expected to be filed by June, with the construction tender process to begin in May this year.
There are other purpose-built Elders villages, such as a 33-bed aged-care centre at Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory that opened its doors last year but the Adelaide project is thought to be the first retirment village focused on community integration and independent living for Elders.
Designing with Country has been on the minds of architects and developers for several years but implementation has been inconsistent.
Attempts are being made to integrate Designing with Country principles in key developments such as the BVN-designed Atlassian headquarters, which includes the the Kimberwalli Centre for Excellence, a place of empowerment for Aboriginal youth in western Sydney.