Aged services centre gets highly successful makeover
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The material timber was selected within the new McKenzie Street Aged Service Centre as a way of helping Council continue their civic identity as a community that is sustainably driven. k20 Architecture’s design concept was based on caring for the community, represented through the idea of clasping hands as a symbol of human unity and connection which includes caring for the ageing people of the community. Timber is a natural product and k20 Architecture believe there is a memory and sensory experience timber captures. Being a public building the use of timber in this project provides for an external aesthetic that is approachable which is particularly relevant as the facility caters to the ageing population of Melton City Council, focusing on promoting inclusion within a range of available services and activities.
k20 Architecture designed the new spaces promoting some rooms as open plan, while others are enclosed to cater for a level of independence. Where staff once had to speak in hushed tones, the new spaces have been acoustically designed and treated to allow a sense of openness and transparency, while still operating in a highly efficient and functional manner.
With up to 150 staff using the centre, the amenities had to be generous.
Crucial meeting point
The new breakout area serves as a crucial meeting point promoting interaction and a shared area with ability to open to an external courtyard and cater for large numbers of people at any one time. The design includes dual sinks and sufficient bench space to allow different groups to use these amenities at the one time.
In line with Council’s brief, k20 Architecture delivered a new centre that was able to function independently, so that services, such as Meals on Wheels, can operate independently from those using the centre for activities or by administration staff. k20’s aim was to create an important place which caringly connects ageing persons within the community with the site, the services provided by Council and with each other; to create a place that matters. A further aim was to create an ecocentric design, one which continued to set a high level of sustainability and exceeded Council’s expectations and set a new benchmark for Council.
The new McKenzie Street Aged Services Centre incorporates sustainable design innovation, along with building repurposing at the very forefront of its design. With the support of Council k20 Architecture produced a design that would allow for the existing McKenzie Street Aged Services building to be retained rather than demolished. While the existing building required some updating, its general structure was able to be reworked as part of a larger scheme. The existing building includes new acoustic treatment to walls and insulation of existing ceilings in the areas of refurbishment to improve the acoustic and thermal performance of the building.
Additional ESD initiatives include integrated passive design throughout the building placement and north orientation to maximise good access to natural light, use of materials with recycled content and/or from sustainably sourced local materials, reduced cement for concrete used with replacement flash, solar array grid connected to offset electricity usage, sun shading to maximise use of natural light and control direct sunlight to administration spaces, energy and water efficient fittings throughout, central electrical shutdown circuit to inhibit standby appliance energy bleed, high performing thermal Insulation, high performing acoustic treatment throughout the building and the use of indigenous and drought tolerant flora.
The existing and new building currently share a covered link which is designed for ease of dismantling to enable the separation of the buildings if required in the future.
The new facility is internally wrapped in ‘proctorwrap’, an air-sealed fabric that controls the movement of air and seals the walls; this not only improves the building’s thermal performance through minimised air infiltration and leakage but also allows for the thermal heating and cooling of the building to perform as efficiently as possible.
The feature cladding timbers selected by k20 Architecture, both spotted gum and blackbutt, are plantation grown and FSC certified. Being a light weight structure, the use of timber meant a more economically sustainable outcome for Council as the speed of delivery and construction time frame were both reduced. All external timber was coated with low maintenance oil that provides a layer of protection for 10+ years.
The new McKenzie Street Aged Services Centre provides a safe an inclusive community centre that combines the new and old to meet the present needs of the community and those of future generations.