Good Design = Good Results. Enter Wintringham
On a recent visit to Melbourne I had the pleasure of meeting Bryan Lipmann, CEO of Wintringham Specialist Aged Care. This not for profit welfare organisation cares for older people who are homeless or vulnerable to homelessness.
Bryan and Ross, former board chairman showed us through their Port Melbourne Hostel. The location is fantastic but what is even more impressive is the actual facility itself.
The design sits sympathetically with the surrounding residential homes. Whilst walking through the middle of the property you feel as though you are wandering past individual homes all with their own front verandas. These are actually the resident’s bedrooms that are linked to a house which has its own lounge and dining area with a fully equipped kitchen and laundry.
Bryan explained that the verandas were important to ensure residents had their own semi private space and gave them choice to invite visitors directly into their bedroom or alternatively direct them into the hub of the home. As he said you don’t ordinarily have visitors come straight into your bedroom, unless of course that is your intention! The veranda also encourages interaction - whilst sitting on your veranda you can’t help but say hello to passers by and engage in conversation if you so choose.
What struck me was the amount of activity going on with residents and staff coming and going and chatting along the way. All I saw were smiles and heard lots of laughter.
We visited one of the houses and on entering it was like walking into your own kitchen with the smell of food being cooked and a family table setting for the residents to enjoy their meals.
The property is extremely well maintained. The impressive gardens weave throughout the facility and gave a number of choices to sit, enjoy and mingle.
The design definitely has an Australian feel with the use of timber, brick and Colourbond. Wide garden bed walls designed at seating height to perch on along your travels, flyscreen doors, timber decking, covered BBQ entertainment area, a cat lazily enjoying the space, a communal area to play pool or just shoot the breeze and even the front administration building is designed to reflect an outback pub.
There is no doubt the architectural design is impressive. Of course we know you can design fantastic buildings and interiors but what truly makes a space home is the underlying philosophy. Good design, however, is interpreting that philosophy and making sure that the spaces work.
I wondered whilst I walked around why we travel thousands of miles to places such as de Hogeweyk in the Netherlands for inspiration when we have a tremendous example of Australian designed and more culturally appropriate small group housing that encourages community right on our doorstep.
Good staff, good philosophy and good design in my opinion are the recipe for a successful enabling environment.
For further information you can view the Wintringham website here