Place Making in Seniors’ Living
Last week I attended the official opening of the extensions to Living Care’s Borella House in Albury. The work involved design and construction of 27 new resident rooms with associated administration and communal spaces, plus refurbishment of 37 existing rooms and gathering places. The project was complex in many ways, particularly during construction. The contractors thoughtfully worked with Living Care employees to ensure the comfort of residents as they remained in the care centre. Having grown up in Albury this project had a personal dimension for me. Visiting the site during the design and construction phases allowed me to reconnect with friends and appreciate again the beauty of the local environment in this thriving regional city. It also gave me the opportunity to better understand the Borella House community. Dr Andrew Ball, the Executive Ministry Director for Living Care, made the official opening speech. Andrew eloquently referred to the place making that had occurred in the development of the site and how important this was to the lives of seniors at Borella House and to all our lives. He referred to Walt Whitman's poem O Me! O Life! in which the poet reflects that human life is sacred and that the purpose of life is to live. Whitman refers to civilization as "powerful play," and insists that each person will "contribute a verse." The place that is Borella House allows for a myriad of contributions. The Scots School choir performed at the opening. The gathering included members of the congregation from St David’s Uniting Church who established aged care on this site in the 1970’s. Residents and their families are integral to place making at Borella House, as are the loving staff led by Patsy Marshall, and including many dedicated and passionate people like Rada, a Personal Care Assistant who emigrated from Serbia. At Edmiston Jones we are sensitive that what we offer seniors, their families and carers is not just bricks and mortar – it is more than architecture. We work with aged care providers to create communities that allow the users to contribute their verse. The notion of place making resonates strongly with our vision of inspiring and enhancing lives through extraordinary built environments that are sustainable and sensible.