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May 23, 2024

Winners of aged care design ideas competition revealed

The federal government has revealed the winners of its national Reimagining Where We Live design ideas competition, which challenged architects, landscape architects and designers to design aged care facilities that have potential to improve residents’ quality of life.

The competition called on design practitioners to conceptualise aged care homes that were welcoming, safe, accessible and dementia friendly, while simultaneously testing the draft National Aged Care Design Principles and Guidelines throughout the design process.

The jury comprised 2023 Gold Medallist Kerstin Thompson, architects John Choi, Allan Kong and Sophie Dyring, interior designer Erin McDonald, landscape architect Catherin Bull, media personality Tim Ross, as well as 2023 Senior Australian of the Year Tom Calma and dementia care expert Stephen Judd.

Two categories – Regional Town and Urban Metro – were judged as part of the competition, with participants able to submit designs for one or both categories. Fifty entries from all six Australian states were received, with no entries from any of the territories.

The jury stated it was “energised and impressed” by the quality of the submissions.

“Entrants were challenged by the need to balance lifestyle options, specific support needs (e.g. for people with a diagnosis of dementia) and potential resulting operational implications. Nevertheless, the jury is of the opinion that in a real-world codesign scenario, an outcome that positively balanced these could be achieved,” the jury commented.

“The jury considered that with design development some proposals – in whole or part – could become typology models for future design consideration.”

First place winners of each category have been awarded $50,000, while second place winners have been granted $20,000.

Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells said the entries demonstrate the value of good design in vastly improving a person’s quality of life.

“Good design can vastly improve the quality of life for older people living in aged care, and the working environments of the people who care for them,” Wells said.

“Through this design challenge, we’ve seen innovative ideas and accommodation solutions that will shape the future of aged care accommodation and support older people to live meaningful lives in safe, high quality residential care when it is needed.”

The winning competition projects include:

Urban Metro category

First place

Scales of Care – LM2A with Super Natural

“An exceptional proposition designed as a dynamic connection between the individual and the community to create a productive relationship … between the practice of care, and the environment in which it takes place … a positive feedback loop … fostered between the resident and the world around them,” commented the jury.

Second place

Connection, Community and Movement – Walter and Walter

Highly commended

Reflection Home – Cultivar and Wild Studio

Canopy – Jacqueline Bartholomeusz, David Sutherland, Lorraine Calder and Oculus


An Ordinary Life – T and Z Architects and Aspect Studios

Regional town category

First place

Manu Place – Monash Urban Lab with NMBW Architecture Studio, BoardGrove Architects, BLOXAS and Glas Landscape Architects

“This is an outstanding proposition which critically addressed the principles and guidelines with a strong and appropriately scaled low-rise spatial program sensitively and intelligently embedded within the site context and neighbourhood,” said the jury.

Second place

All Together Now – Other Architects, Openwork, Andy Fergus and Alicia Pozniak

Highly commended

The Connected Garden – Mark Boffa, Guruge Ruwani Dharmasiri, Pulasthi Wijekoon, Jana Osvald and Julie Ockerby

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