Mercy Bethlehem Home for the Aged

Recently completed and occupied, stage 2 of the Bethlehem Aged Care Facility redevelopment includes the fit-out of an additional 60 bedrooms and associated living and utility areas within a new two storey wing, along with the construction of a new single storey Community Hub building. There are now 120 residents accommodated in new bedrooms, each with individual en suites.

The Community Hub provides a new entry, reception and waiting area, administrative offices, café with indoor/outdoor seating, well-fitted hairdressing salon and flexible chapel with its own shaded outdoor courtyard.

The bedroom wing is logically organised with 30 bed modules incorporating central courtyards and living/dining zones enjoying a sunny northerly aspect on one side and expansive southerly views across the valley on the other side of the building. An elevated link and lift allows fully accessible connections between the central living areas, entry and community hub.

A dedicated dementia-specific house caters for 16 residents and includes a secure external garden/courtyard with soft rubber pathways, an indoor ‘bus stop’ zone featuring a heritage image wall graphic and a tactile wall panel designed and constructed by Smith + Tracey.

The design and material application borrows from the local Bendigo region’s heritage and background in mining and farming. A palette of finishes including earthy red and cream patterned brickwork, eucalypt grey-green render, slatted woodland grey sunshades, corrugated steel, richly stained timber board cladding, and chunky hardwood pergola frames and posts has been adopted.

The new entry welcomes visitors with a large cantilevered canopy flanked by angled screens of solid timber ‘totems’ in-filled with random slatted powder coated sunscreens, a vocabulary hinting at mineshaft shuttering and supports.

Passive sustainability measures have been carefully integrated with the use of both horizontal and vertical sun shading depending on the glazing orientation, large sub-floor rainwater tanks taking advantage of the slope of the land, a reflective white Colorbond roof, and insulation in walls and ceilings in excess of the regulatory requirements.

The completion of stage 2 realises the major key components of Mercy Health’s redevelopment plan for the site and provides the region with a long awaited aged care home and Hub of which the community, Mercy Health and Smith + Tracey can be proud.