The Australian Institute of Architects has endorsed a national competition to reimagine aged care design.
The Institute is urging members to get behind the design contest from the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care “Reimagining where we live” to create welcoming, safe, accessible and dementia-friendly aged care homes.
National President Stuart Tanner said the Institute’s support for the competition acknowledged the critical importance of aged care accommodation to our society, and the potential for positive impacts.
“Extensive research demonstrates that good design and architecture leads to improved liveability,” he said.
“All Australians deserve effective design, especially our aged care residents. Well-designed, well-researched buildings and thoughtful spaces enhance quality of life, which is what we all want for our elders.”
Architects and designers have been invited to test the Australian Government’s National Aged Care Design Principles and Guidelines to determine their suitability.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety found less than half of residential aged care homes adopt accessible, dementia-friendly design principles.
The competition encourages innovative ideas and accommodation solutions that support older people to live meaningful lives in safe environments that promote independence, function and a sense of belonging.
The competition has also been endorsed by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. Multidisciplinary design teams, led by a registered Australian architect or graduate of an Australian-accredited architectural program, can also enter.
A first prize of $50,000 and second prize of $20,000 may be recommended for outstanding proposals.
An independent expert jury comprising nine eminent design and aged care sector professionals, as well as insights from people with a lived experience of dementia, will evaluate entries.
The competition closes at noon AEDT on 15 December 2023. Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells will announce the winners by the end of April 2024.