The design concept focuses upon the creation of a contemporary ‘hills village’, providing a picturesque and restful place for people to spend their later years in life. Drawing upon historic precedents throughout Europe, America and Australia, the design locates a new village within a valley setting where the ground is more level, and preserves the surrounding scenic hills as a backdrop. As with the many European examples, the road structure for the village nestles into the contours of the valley firstly enabling the form of the village to reinforce the natural landform, and secondly, to provide a series of cross streets that are either level or gently sloped.
The primary roads that intersect at the village centre are located upon axis’ that align the surrounding hilltops. This brings the surrounding landscape features into the village composition as axial features/terminating vistas.
Other existing landscape features such as billabongs and dams, watercourses and rivulets, and Cumberland plain woodlands are retained and woven into the structure of the new village to both strengthen the naturalistic character of the development, and again, assist with the integration of the development within its natural setting.
At the heart of the development is a green space (village green/hub/centre/core) that combines outdoor sporting facilities and a park. The park is sited on a natural watercourse and is designed to manage water runoff from the hills and village. A series of water ponds with native plantings filter the runoff and provide a both naturalistic outlook for residents as well as a habitat for birds.
Adjacent to the high point of the greens space is the community/village centre with shops, cafes, a gymnasium, bar and a theatre. Each of these functions is accessed from the road giving the centre a ‘main street’ feel. Alfresco seating is used to activate the street and to promote outdoor living.
Aged care facilities located in two level articulated buildings (to provide natural daylight into central corridors) adjacent to the village centre and take advantage of the view over the park.
Assisted living facilities are also located nearby and again take advantage of views over the park.
The village buildings collectively make use of a simple palette of architectural motifs (pitched roofs, verandahs, natural materials etc) that give the development a sense of harmony and help to integrate the development with its natural surrounds. This is reinforced through the landscaping and public domain treatments which draw upon local native plant species and materials to create an environment that connects with the natural environment.
Each dwelling is sited to maximize its northerly orientation for passive thermal control as well as taking advantage of views over the valley and to the surrounding hilltops. Each dwelling also has its own north facing private outdoor living space and this is connected to its internal living area to promote indoor/outdoor living. Large floor to ceiling glazed units assist this connection and give the dwellings a greater sense of space.