Uniting Communities’ redevelopment on Franklin Street in Adelaide is a radically mixed -use building which aims to provide a range of services from retirement living, disability respite and specialist disability accommodation, retail tenancies, a community services hub, convention and meeting space and workplace.
Designed by Woods Bagot the redevelopment, which recently received DA approval, will generate a ‘one-stop’ shop experience for the South Australian community, while continuing to operate as a fully functional place of worship.
A defining feature of the building design is the diverse mix of program which Woods Bagot Associate Alex Hall describes as one that has ‘rarely been seen before’.
Having up to 10 different functions within the one building might seem for many a significant challenge resulting in a noticeable loss of brand or identity, however Hall said the building is about creating a shared identity whilst expressing distinct ‘neighborhoods’ all within the one building which celebrates unity through diversity.
Divided into four distinct elements, the redevelopment will consist of a ‘showcase element’ incorporating a function centre – which can hold up to 400 people in a spoken event mode – a community services hub and ground floor retail opportunities. Each ‘element’ will have its own distinct community space and outdoor terrace which is expressed in the architecture through large bronze folds in the façade that celebrate the diverse expressions of community.
Aligning itself with the latest international research and best practice in the provision of community based support, Hall explained the development creates a flexible and adaptable building that embodies Uniting Communities as a progressive and contemporary not-for-profit organisation.
“The redevelopment will deliver the best quality community services, across a wide demographic spectrum, within a welcoming and vibrant environment that attracts and builds a healthy and sustainable community.
“We believe it will become Adelaide’s premier CBD social and community services hub.”
The design of the building and the public spaces will have a strong emphasis on providing equitable access for all. The Independent Living Units, Specialist Disability Apartments and the Respite Accommodation will be designed to various ratings outlined in the Livable Housing Australia Design Guidelines.
“The respite and the specialist disability apartments will be able to cater for mild disabilities to people with severe disabilities needing full time care. The emphasis on providing care for all means that all of the public spaces, including the lifts and community spaces will be designed to the highest level of accessibility,” he said.
“Importantly, we have designed high-quality residential apartments that can support a range of disabilities, but don’t lose sight of the overall aesthetics; so you still feel like you are in your home and not a hospital or care facility.
“We don’t talk about aged care we talk about supported living. Our apartment design has the ability to adapt to people as they get older and require extra assistance or services,” he said.
Construction is due to start in October this year and is scheduled to be completed by 2018.