DR collaborates with Tricare to bring aged care expertise to Melbourne

8 September 2023

In a new move that highlights their commitment to elevating the quality of aged care design, Brisbane-based architecture firm, Deicke Richards, has completed their inaugural project in Melbourne in collaboration with Tricare. With a long-standing history working together spanning 10 years, this project not only highlights the enduring relationship between Deicke Richards and Tricare but also emphasises their dedication to shaping positive design outcomes in aged care and seniors living across Australia.

The Melbourne-based project, William’s Landing, marks a significant step for the practice, as they venture into new geographical territory while maintaining their focus on creating thoughtful, well designed, and functional spaces for this sector. Situated between Melbourne’s city centre and Geelong, the development is strategically located in an area growing in population with a high level of accessibility to local amenities and train station to both cities. Tricare acquired the significant parcel of land, with their vision aiming to set new benchmarks in aged care design and functionality for the region.

At the core of this project are architects John Deicke and Ingrid Marshall. Their deep understanding of Tricare’s values and the unique needs of aged care residents has positioned them to prioritise both the aesthetic and functional aspects of their projects. Their approach to William’s Landing was no different, and John describes what he feels their team has brought to the project.

“We’ve had a longstanding relationship with Tricare working on projects throughout south east Queensland. I think what they value is that we listen. They know everything there is to know about aged care – they know their business better than anyone else – so our job is to listen and to understand so we can design the best outcome, both for Tricare and their residents. It’s about creating beautifully designed spaces that facilitate quality of life. That’s always at the core of what we do.”

According to John, the site’s current configuration is a result of a meticulous two-stage design. “The first stage encompasses the construction of rooms and essential services for both stages, while the second stage is seamlessly expandable, and is intended to accommodate future growth.”

The design of the new facility reflects a commitment to high-quality living environments, which Ingrid credits to Tricare’s understanding of the aged care industry. “Their focus is on spaces that emulate a high-end ambiance, as opposed to the traditional sterile, hospital-like settings commonly associated with aged care. Their model is about creating spacious rooms, thoughtfully designed communal areas, and a warmth that emphasises residents’ comfort and lifestyle.”

“In addition to the aesthetics of the design, it was important to Tricare that the planning was well thought out and efficient in terms of staff movement – how they get to and from residents quickly, and to move between rooms in a responsive way – an important aspect for residents as well as staff satisfaction in their busy roles.”

As the aged care sector experiences a demographic and funding model shift, architects play a pivotal role in ensuring that the living spaces cater to the evolving needs of seniors, using good design to promote well-being and comfort. Deicke Richards’ expertise in the field, as well as their capacity to evolve alongside the changing landscape of aged care, has enabled them to remain at the forefront after many years in this space.

When asked about their favourite part of the William’s Landing design, John responded, “For me, it’s the small things. We’ve designed these lovely little sitting rooms in the corner, which are really, truly delightful. They’re not too big. They have lovely views, and the larger spaces are divided into smaller spaces so it’s not overwhelming for the residents. They can get together in smaller groups of three or four and feel comfortable in that space.”

Ingrid added, “My favourite space is the conservatory; it looks onto the garden and is just a pleasant space for the residents to be in at any time of day or season. Whenever we can create spaces like this it’s very rewarding for us.” John agreed, saying, “They’re the sorts of spaces that make a real difference to the residents.”

Deicke Richards’ collaboration with Tricare brings their aged care expertise to their first project in Melbourne and demonstrates not only the ability for their design work to translate in different geographical locations, but to advance the design of quality spaces for aged care and seniors living beyond Queensland. With their emphasis on placing people and community at the centre of everything they do, the practice has set a new standard for aged care facilities in Victoria, demonstrating that elegant and thoughtful design can coexist with the necessities of care and support.