Regis has been named a finalist in the WA Heritage Awards for its refurbishment of Hillcrest aged care facility, incorporating a 115-year-old building and achieving a 4 star green star energy rating.

The refurbishments of the site in North Fremantle were finished in mid 2016 and involved refurbishing the existing heritage building, demolishing the former aged care facility and constructing a new aged care facility around the heritage building.

The original building was constructed in 1902 and stands high above the town with views of the Swan River and Fremantle docks.

Regis’s goal was to create a new 109-bed facility that is spacious and modern and that offers different lifestyle choices and care services to meet the residents’ needs.

The development also had to achieve a 4 Star Green Star rating both in design and eventual construction to meet local building regulations, which meant engaging specific green star and heritage consultants to assist through all aspects of the project. As a result, the site has many energy efficient systems including solar power and an energy efficient lighting system.

The Regis project team encouraged input from all departments to set design standards including safety in design and quality standards which were constantly evolving throughout the project. These were coordinated through the property department.

The existing heritage-listed mansion was extensively restored and is the focal point of the facility. Its amalgamation into the overall design has led to a truly unique aged care facility.

The heritage building incorporates the entrance foyer, administration areas and several communal spaces including the media room and library. The high ceilings and extensive architectural heritage detailing create spaces that retain an ambiance from a previous era.

To maintain the overall heritage feel of the facility, the new wings along Turton Street and Harvest Road had to merge seamlessly though linkways into the original building.

The historic significance of the building has been preserved not only in the architectural detail but also in the complimentary furniture, fittings and artworks.

Internally, the paint colours, floor finishes and furnishing fabrics were carefully chosen to create a calm and positive environment for the residents.

The centrally-located living, dining and outdoor areas are all easily accessible from each bedroom wing and allows clear visibility of residents by nursing staff and carers.

Each level has open lounge areas, separate dining areas and smaller more intimate sitting areas. Throughout the building there are a large mix of communal facilities including hairdresser, spa room, library, cinema room and café.

All rooms are single occupancy with en-suite and there are seven one-bedroom apartments on the top floor of Turton Wing.

The extensive outdoor areas provide activity spaces, sitting areas and garden vistas both on the perimeter and internal courtyards. These areas offer residents’ choice for leisure time and provide personalised spaces to host family members if they wish to do so.

Efforts were made to protect two significant Norfolk Pine trees during construction and incorporate them into the landscape design of the courtyard areas. This, and the restoration of the heritage building were some of the biggest challenges for the project.

To provide the best possible environment for residents with dementia Regis engaged the services of De Fiddes Design to assist with the Memory Support Unit (MSU), particularly with the incorporation of sensory design.

The MSU area has both internal and external components – the garden area is particularly interesting with winding paths, bird houses and a potting shed. To create a familiar homelike environment whilst encouraging the residents to be involved in normal daily activities.

Internal areas also incorporate sensory design elements, for example interactive technology, music and tactile objects all of which create a normal lifestyle environment for the benefit of our residents.

The dementia area includes a specialised interactive sensory wall that enables residents to interact with many special features. Foxtel TV, Wifi and Regis TV are provided to residents in all private rooms and common areas.

The site is also alongside a local school with extremely tight local roads. Construction Management and Traffic Management had to be adhered to at all times. Communication with the school and local residents was maintained through letter drops and school visits giving updates on any disruptions and progress.

The architectural design was by Silver Thomas Hanley (Melbourne) with various other consultants involved in interiors, landscaping, electrical and mechanical having prominent roles.