Metlifecare Gulf Rise
Redefining Retirement Living
New Zealand’s aged population is growing with people living longer, healthier lives and this is creating considerable demand for housing and care alternatives during retirement. The first stage of ‘Gulf Rise’ in Red Beach is the realisation of Metlifecare’s long-term vision for retirement living in New Zealand. Warren and Mahoney was charged with an ambitious brief to design a village that would potentially become the new benchmark for quality designed retirement villages. Strong design focus was placed on human bulk and massing, context, overall scale, diversity in residential offering and strong community engagement breaking the stereotypical norm of large overwhelming blocks onsite.
Metlifecare’s brief was clear that the needs of retirees are changing in terms of lifestyle / wellbeing and the pressures on feasibility from the rising cost of construction. It is also apparent that current retirement housing options do not necessarily align with the expectations of a new, more discerning generation. We see these issues as exciting challenges and an opportunity to reimagine retirement living in New Zealand.
The following guiding principles were adopted into Warren and Mahoney’s masterplan for the village:
Security: A secure community is a fundamental consideration for the elderly. Gulf Rise strongly opposes the stereotypical gated community approach. The village is designed to welcome and connect with the wider community through streets, CPTED and applying quality urban design principles into the design.
Socialisation: Interaction with family and friends is a need for all people - it is what makes us human. The village looks to foster strong social engagement with village amenities, but also sees potential to bring the community through. A social pavilion built around a bird, butterfly and bee sanctuary are shared by all and fosters inter-generation engagement.
Connection: The village design has implemented a logical street layout by integrating with the surrounding existing street network providing a clear hierarchy and character-driven laneways and streets. The street and footpath gradients across the site have focussed on ‘walkability’ with minimum gradients to shared laneways.
Natural tones and textures became the material palette for an integrated architecture and landscape village design. “The Garden Party” provides streets, pathways and open spaces for exploration and discovery.
Working closely with a home builder, the design took advantage of the economic benefits from the builder’s tailored systems while custom innovation brought a product that was unique and specific to Red Beach.
The project brought a strong marriage between architecture and landscape with sustainability and wellbeing being the common bond. The selection of plant species, careful placement of unearthed rocks and the provision of small water bodies and wetlands create corridors of habitat, designed to attract and home the numerous varieties of birds, butterflies and insects found along the Hibiscus Coast.