Construction is about to commence on the Architects Edmiston Jones designed 164 bed Marco Polo Residential Care Community in Woonona, Wollongong. The development will have a “civic hub” creating a communal space where residents can leave their rooms and the living/dining areas associated with their ‘house’ to meet visitors in a public space that functions like the neighbourhood shops. This approach follows the ‘humanitas model’, which encourages older people to have control over their lives with continued activity and participation in community life.
We have had some great feedback from Marco Polo Manager, Robert O’Shea. who has expressed his delight with Edmiston Jones’ contribution to the design. “What we were looking for initially was someone to come and re-draw our ideas. What we found was that they not only re-drew our ideas but had a lot of very good ideas of their own and that plan, which was a good plan, is now an excellent one – the difference between good to excellent is because of their expertise and input.”
“The most important part from our perspective is that they didn’t tell us what we wanted, they asked us what we wanted and then assisted us in getting there. It’s been a good relationship in that it isn’t a master servant relationship. It is co-operative and they’ve listened to what we’ve said and we’ve come up with some crazy things I think and certainly in this design there are things you’ll not see in any other aged care facility in Australia.”
The public area of the facility includes a café adjacent to the reception, and this opens into a dining area and covered forecourt. A hairdresser, beauty salon and doctor’s rooms, positioned around a common waiting area, are located adjacent to the cafe dining area. To facilitate community activities integrated with the retirement village, a larger multi-purpose room is made available for the general public.