This project has created a farm-stay environment at a peaceful property outside Woodend for Very Special Kids, a unique not-for-profit organisation that supports families facing the challenge of caring for children with life-threatening illnesses. Focusing on the quality of life, Very Special Kids provides free practical and emotional support for the entire family. Glen Osmond Farm features purpose-built holiday cottages that can sleep up to eight people in three bedrooms.
The accommodation had to incorporate disabled facilities within a comfortable, modern, family-oriented farm cottage design. The result is four luxury cottages and a recreational building. The design response includes full wheel-chair access, hospital bed emergency evacuation through stacking doors with no threshold, hoist rails, heat lamps for drying a child on the bed, 920 wide doors, and attention to heights of power sockets and light switches.
This project reflects the thought and care which is clearly a hallmark of Very Special Kids and its design team. A clear intent of the farm concept is to identify with the land in a natural way. The accommodation unit is compact with a highly functional layout. Use of the angles creates visual interest while enhancing internal sight lines for improved access and supervision.
Large timber posts give a hint of what to expect in the recreation barn, where the use of recycled timbers and old iron including an old cutter bar as roof bracing produces an earthy hard wearing building with a great sense of fun. The Judges were impressed by the detailing of the barn, including the free standing timber sculptures forming the stair balustrade. Of the many features provided in this project, the wheelchair track is also a thoughtful touch.
Working with a committee is always challenging and, in this instance, the result provides an outstanding source of respite for kids and families who will benefit from their stays here.