From the architect:
With growing concerns in Australia over resident isolation in traditional high-rise retirement villages, the newly completed first stage of Pavilions Blackburn Lake community demonstrates how a reimagined approach to seniors living design can benefit the health and wellbeing of our ageing population.
This pioneering project, developed by the Seventh Day Adventist Church and designed by VIA Architects, with interiors by Hecker Guthrie, is a shining example of how innovative masterplanning and thoughtful design can vastly improve one's retirement years.
The project masterplan was led by Director Frank Bambino of VIA and was designed to celebrate community-led living while fostering social connections amongst residents.
“Creating a connected community atmosphere is high on our agenda when approaching a new senior’s living project. Cultivating a sense of belonging amongst residents is an essential consideration, along with creating an environment where residents can truly thrive. Pavilions Blackburn Lake was no exception,” Bambino says.
An eco-conscious development at its core, Pavilions is positioned on a rare parcel of native bushland. The low-line buildings take up a mere 20 percent of the 4.6-hectare site, with the remaining 80 percent of the site’s biodiversity and ecology preserved across three conservation zones.
The preserved bushland enhances the natural ecological link with Blackburn Lake Reserve (opposite), while encouraging residents to spend more time outdoors leading active lifestyles.
The site has been owned by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church since the 1920s, and was once the location where camping events were regularly held. Paying homage to this history, each building was crafted as seven individual pavilions.
Much more than just built-form, the project was first considered from a human perspective. The unique landscape allowed VIA to encourage impromptu interactions between residents through the design, with the premium facilities dispersed across the development.
This human-led ethos is visible from every angle of the project, including the street frontage, where modern inner-city-style café Miss Lucy welcomes the neighbourhood and provides a social link between residents and the broader community.
Denise Massoud, Deputy Mayor at the Whitehorse City Council agreed that since its opening, the cafe has aided in bringing the community together.
“Miss Lucy has become a regular meeting place for residents and locals in general. There are opportunities for groups to meet at the café, dogs are welcome, and they also have great spaces for families to gather for private celebrations,” Massoud says.
Internal streets within the development further activate the shared amenities, currently comprising a cinema room, games room, library and business centre. The future stages will feature a pool, yoga studio, wellness centre and amphitheatre, further enhancing the lifestyle of the residents.
As we move into this new era of seniors living, Pavilions Blackburn Lake stands as a best-in-class example of what can be achieved when we reimagine the possibilities for our ageing population.