ThomsonAdsett designs Korongee dementia village

Creating a warm, supportive and safe environment is central to great dementia care. ThomsonAdsett’s experience in building leading aged care homes saw us win the Korongee dementia village contract, and with it a chance to be part of an Australian-first initiative. Our Managing Director Chris Straw offered some insight about the project.

What attracted you to this project initially?

We are a company that is passionate about designing quality accommodation for our ageing population. We have a deep knowledge of aged care accommodation built up over three decades working in the sector, as well as spending the last 10 years arranging overseas tours to bring world’s best practice to Australia.

What are some of the unique challenges and opportunities on this build?

The core challenge we have faced is to provide authentic living for residents with memory and cognitive issues. In partnership with Glenview, we have reimagined how this can work in an Australian setting. The operational design is fundamental to enabling authentic living. Our design seeks to give this idea life.

The second challenge was to see how open the building can be to the external community. It has been designed to operate in an open and closed mode so that this can be tested over time.

How important is investing in builds like this, which support the future of dementia care?

We see dementia care design as one of the most important areas for the next decade. We want to show the community how building future quality care environments is critical to the successful care for the individual.

How important are partnerships between providers, design firms, investors and the community to the success of these projects?

ThomsonAdsett has always preached a team approach to delivering new building infrastructure. Ultimately, the finance, operations, marketing, regulations, staff and building design priorities need to work together to create innovation. Our core concern is the quality of life of the residents. All contributors have kept this as their focus which will be where great design outcomes can be delivered in a way that lives into the future.

How is this project different from other dementia villages? What sets it apart in terms of innovation in Australian dementia care?

This village has embedded a true household model in which the first focus is on the daily life of an individual resident in their own house. By breaking the house sizes down to eight residents in each, a more subtle care model can help residents live to the best of their abilities.

The design of wayfinding in this project definitely sets it apart from others in Australia. The clarity of the interior layouts is the first area of consideration. The next was how residents move through garden spaces to the community buildings and retail areas. This is achieved through clear lines of sight and unique design elements in each space. The Pantry, community hall, café, library, hairdresser and wellness centre all create separate landmarks that help residents know where they are in their new neighbourhood.