The Walumba Elders Centre, an established aged care home in the remote town in Warmun in northern Western Australia, has been named the winner of the prestigious World Architecture Festival in Singapore this month. The festival is the the world’s largest international architectural event, with over 200 architects attending from 60 countries.
Completed in 2014, The Walumba Elders Centre is a 12-bed building that includes three bedrooms for staff. The end result reflective of the close collaboration between the architects, the indigenous council and the elders in the local community. The aged care home, built in close proximity to the school so that the elders would be a key inclusion and focal part of the community.
The Walumba Elders Centre replaced the previous aged-care hostel which in 2011 was destroyed following flooding in the area, impacting other surrounding infrastructure. To minimise the impact of future flooding the centre was built 2.4 metres off the ground. Although that said there are are more meaningful reasons to build the centre off the ground as it is believed to perform better energetically, environmentally, culturally, socially and spiritually.
Other key features of the aged care home including an internal laundry, commercial kitchen for a ‘meals-on-wheels’ service, large open verandahs and communal spaces. With one of the common spaces allowing for a fire-pit so that traditional bush food can be cooked within.
Whilst other culturally appropriate aged care facilities exist around Australia. The need to develop additional culturally appropriate aged care homes within local communities around Australia will continue to increase. Within our ageing population includes multicultural seniors. Supporting their needs to enable choice includes consideration in the design and environment in addition to other areas.