Retirement retreat

Samy Mansour
Friday 29 Aug 2008

Melbourne based Lyons architects create a building that contests the conventional paradigm of a nursing home

The Mornington Centre is a new building which provides extended residential accommodation for older people who require specialist geriatric evaluation, management and rehabilitation. These services are delivered in a new purpose-built building located in the clients’ own community – in a Mornington residential street near the sea.

Through its spatial arrangements and normalising environment it shifts from a medico-centric model of care to one where family and carers work with staff to deliver care to residents.

The new building is like a big house or coastal hotel - not a hospital - and a new language was developed with the client to describe its program. A large scale, folded pitched roof encompasses the whole building, tying together the spaces within.

The rooms in which people stay over were designed as bedrooms not ‘wards’ and each contains a bay window in which people can sit and enjoy the view. These have generous windows which open to admitting daylight and fresh air. The repeating rhythm of the folded bedroom walls formally articulates the building along its length and controls the hot summer sun.

Inside, the clinical and clinical support spaces are suppressed or hidden to highlight spaces for clients and their families - the spaces which form the clients’ experience of the building. Internal timber cladding, directional timber vinyl flooring, warm colours and domestic lighting contribute to this spatial reading.The reception area presents like a hotel concierge desk - friendly and helpful.

Key Facts:

Healthcare Civic Buildings

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