Nettletontribe Award for Design Excellence

The Benson retirement village in the prestigious Melbourne suburb of Toorak has been recognised nationally for excellence in design in retirement living.

The 4-level, 33 apartment complex was designed to provide superior accommodation in independent living units for its residents. The units are generally larger in size than similar developments with generous balcony space.

The project evolved from a social mission – how to preserve the loved but crumbling St Peters parish church which was heritage listed. The availability of land around the church led the parish committee to pursue a visionary solution that would see the development of a new retirement community that would simultaneously reinvigorate the area and assist in funding restoration of the church and parish facilities.

The Benson presents an outstanding example of how to address the problems arising from the dual issues of an ageing population in established inner urban areas and a shortage of land to enable development of new housing that meets their needs. Central to the solution has been the creation of a retirement community that remains connected to its surroundings.

The Benson meets the Liveable Housing Code gold standard to allow the retrofitting of mobility aids and to enable accessibility for residents as they age. It also offers a wide range of apartment types to meet changing market demand. The need for adaptability is balanced with high quality finishes and detail and generous spatial provisions.

The architect for the project was Simon Hanger of the Demaine Partnership and the builder was Buxton Construction.

The nettletontribe Award for Design Excellence is part of the National Retirement Living Awards, which recognises the contribution and achievements across all areas of the retirement living sector by the people and companies helping ensure senior Australians have an enjoyable retirement.

There are currently more than 180,000 people living in more than 2,300 retirement villages across Australia. With 22 per cent of Australians expected to be over the age of 65 by 2054, the need for comfortable, affordable and supportive retirement living options is ever-increasing.

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