Healthcare giant Australian Unity has been given the green light to deliver a $100-million retirement and aged care village in Brisbane’s suburban inner-west.
It will comprise a trio of buildings rising three, seven and 10 storeys on a 6897sq m Catholic Church-owned site at 9-17 Harriett Street, Auchenflower.
The existing Holy Spirit Catholic Church will be retained as part of the development.
Previously approved for a vertical retirement village and residential aged care precinct, the site was part of the Greengate portfolio acquired by Australian Unity in 2021 for $65 million.
The design has been subsequently tweaked by Fender Katsalidis with a development focus on the facilitation of social connection and community.
According to the amended plans, the overall number of homes has been slightly reduced compared to the existing approval. The 18,242sq m development now includes 87 independent living apartments (a reduction of one unit) and 108 residential aged care units (a reduction of two suites).
But the changes also include a significant increase in the amount of communal space within the retirement and aged care village, almost doubling from 570sq m to 1139sq m.
As well, the redesign has maximised northern light and taken more advantage of the site’s viewlines. An internal courtyard is aimed at enhancing the village typology, providing residents with amenities including a small cafe, hairdresser, consultation room for medical practitioners and a rehabilitation gym.
Fender Katsalidis principal Jessica Lee said the project highlighted the firm’s commitment to providing human-centric design that holistically enhances the well-being of its residents.
“Addressing our ageing population means addressing the infrastructure,” Lee said.
“It is crucial that the way we design retirement living is conducive to positive, healthy outcomes for residents, and that each design is contextualised within its local neighbourhood, which is what our amended plans at Auchenflower have set out to achieve.”
Fender Katsiladis opted for a high-quality mineral paint finish on the concrete facade, which will be articulated by the use of metal cladding at upper levels to create the illusion of a recessive shadow line. On lower levels, including around the internal courtyard, a tactile hand-cut brick will be used to promote fine-grain materiality.
The architect has previously worked with Australian Unity on its award-winning retirement living project The Grace Albert Lake retirement community in Melbourne.
“Creating a continuum of care allows older people living in the community to access a choice of accommodation and care services that provides the peace of mind a low-change environment, and the quality design outcomes that Australian Unity is committed to,” Australian Unity general manager of places Lorraine Calder said.
“In providing a choice of quality accommodation that promotes wellbeing, belonging and community, we are looking to improve the standard of Australian aged care, and ultimately, change the stigmas about ageing and older people more broadly.”
Queensland’s ageing population is driving increased demand for retirement and aged care development throughout the state. The number of Queensland residents aged 85 years and over is projected to more than double between 2019 and 2049.