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Architecture student wins international commendation

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Curtin University Master of Architecture student Christopher Mewburn was recently awarded a First Commendation in the Commonwealth Association of Architects’ WISE (Welcoming Inclusive Spaces for the Elderly) competition. 

The international competition encouraged architecture students from around the world to submit innovative designs for aging populations.

Mr Mewburn’s entry visualised a potential for change in Perth, focussing on the area surrounding the current Stirling train station. His scheme acknowledged that many of Perth’s elderly citizens are confined to their suburban homes or retirement villages.  His design seeks to change this situation, proposing the integration of different housing solutions, including aged care facilities, into the planned development of the city’s public transport network. 

“By including housing solutions as an intrinsic part of the future transport hotspots of Perth, we can connect the elderly to family, friends and an expansive network of resources and amenities,” Mr Mewburn said.

“Their lifestyle would essentially be transformed, allowing them to become active, engaged and mobile people. They will be given the power to be the visitor, not just the visited.”

One of Mr Mewburn’s strategies was to combine each of the housing and transport hubs around the city with amenities that would transform each place into a vibrant destination. In his development of the Stirling train station precinct, he visualised a promenade shaped by an urban orchard and vineyard. This created an environment where the daily commute and the daily fruit purchase became shared rituals between residents and visitors.

His project was developed as part of the Masters of Architecture Research Studio cluster, led by Dr Sarah McGann, a Senior Lecturer from Curtin’s Department of Architecture and Interior Architecture. 

“The competition brief asked students to focus their strategy on connecting the elderly within the broader family and community and to consider the needs of different age groups, instead of focussing on nursing homes or retirement villages,” Dr McGann said.

“Today’s students are tomorrow’s architects.  By having them address the very real demands of an ageing Australian population now, their work can stimulate discussion about how our industry will need to address these types of issues in the future.”

Mr Mewburn’s entry, including design graphics, can be found on the Commonwealth Association of Architects WISE website

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