The Wirrabara Village locates seniors housing into a beautiful landscaped setting. The north-western parts of Sydney have been characterised by the green grids of agriculture, orchards and farming since the early 1800’s – but its history is much deeper and older than this. Wirrabara is a Darug word meaning, ‘forest of gum trees and running water.’ The site planning unites these histories – with a linear street pattern that orients outlook and movement towards the sinuous Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest and O’Haras Creek elements on the western part of the site.
97 self care dwellings are provided in a range of forms – semi detached houses, courtyard houses, quadruplex manorhouses, terrace houses and apartments – to cater for a range of housing needs and to actively respond to diverse topographic, solar and landscape conditions across the site. A 36 bed Residential Care facility anchors the heart of the site, with a range of small pocket squares, community rooms, terraces and gardens scattered across the village to entice residents along walking paths that encourage meeting and informal interaction.
Every building has an address on a street named after the site’s endemic vegetation (Turpentine and Ironbark) or former flower farm plantings (Salix, Hippeastrum, Lavender). Street tree planting mixes native and cultural plantings to embed nature, colour and shade in the village streets and provide habitat along the riparian corridor for Fairy Wrens, Black Cockatoos, Powerful Owls, Water Dragons and Ring Tailed possums.
All of the public domain and housing elements comply with SEPP Seniors Living requirements providing dignified and comfortable housing choices. Buildings are constructed of brick, timber and metal, in reference to the rural building traditions in the area and to respond proactively to the intense summer heat of north-western Sydney.
The project and its Site Compatibility Certificate had been the subject of three Land and Environment Court Hearings when Hill Thalis commenced work on the project in late 2018. The village received approval through the court in February 2020.