Mornington nursing home by Lyons Architects



The Mornington nursing home in Victoria, Australia, designed by Lyons Architects, is clad with bricks embossed to resemble timber.


The architects wanted the building to seem like a large beach house or coastal hotel rather than a hospital.


Photographs by John Golling.


The following information is from Lyons Architects:


The building contests the conventional paradigm of a nursing home. Through its spatial arrangements and normalising environment, it shifts from a medico-centric model of care to one where family and carers work with staff to deliver care to residents.


The language used to describe the workings of this facility is perhaps more akin to that of a hotel than a nursing home.


The reception presents like a hotel concierge desk - friendly and helpful. Generous corridors open up to the outside bringing in natural ventilation and light. Travelling between the rooms and the therapy rooms, one passes though the dining areas, interfacing with the rest of the community.


Each room was designed as bedrooms not ‘wards’. Each bedroom contains a bay window where a view out can be enjoyed, The repeating rhythm of these bay windows formally articulates the building along its length and works to control the hot summer sun.


The building takes the form of a large scale, folded pitched roof that encompasses the whole building, bringing together the spaces within. Sitting very close to the coastline the building reads like a big beach house or coastal hotel - not a hospital.


Taking from the beach house, the building appears ‘timber-like’- clad in oversized ‘timber’ planks which are rendered in brick. This operation gives the building a homelike scale and meets the serviceability requirements of the owner. The planks are figured with a combination of smooth and rough ‘timber’ grain, the latter constructed out of conventional house bricks embossed with a striated digital design.








Posted on Wednesday May 21st 2008 at 10:35 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Aooth

    Great facade!

  • xearo

    absolutely amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jelle

    i think the facade looks just ridiculous.
    a fucked up brick, and a pixelated “sand-image” as a result.

    just stupid

  • roborocketpod

    it looks like it belongs to the set of “Operation Desert Storm” trading cards I used to collect….

    are they trying to make the old people disappear from the “beach” by camouflaging them?

  • CPCP

    the faux-wood plank brick facade is an interesting idea – but with the pattern they’ve used (1st image) it doesnt work!!

  • If I get stuck in a senior’s home, please, please let it be a humane modern place like this and not some pseudo-country club mega-bungalow “traditional style” insult to my intelligence!

  • Soupdragon

    As usual the endless search for novelty continues on the facade, whilst the one interior shot shows the same old dreary hospital corridors with no quality of natural light.
    Would be nice to see what the rooms are like, since I was under the misguided impression that they were more important in such buildings than the facade.

    Wonder what conversation Louis Kahn would have with those bricks?

  • sam

    facade reminds me of a corrupted “jpg” file.

  • Hermes

    It’s funny, the formal proposal for the building is quite interesting enough. I believe that the facade (although innovative I must admit) was completely unnecessary. If they had made it from a unique conventional brick, it would have been a lot better (and cheaper!).

  • Interesting take on the facade, but once again, are there any nice nooks and various spaces for people to sit, read, meet, chat, play an instrument? Must be pure facade-ism, since the interior reflects nothing like the exterior. But I don’t mind the facade, just having a tough time understanding it. Interesting project. At least there’s something there.. Don’t know exactly what..

  • Fling

    “The language used to describe the workings of this facility is perhaps more akin to that of a hotel than a nursing home.”
    Until it come to “checking out”, I imagine. You can’t dress that baby up.

    Also enjoy the technique of making ‘brick’ appear like ‘timber’. I constructed a similar trompe l’oeil once, where I cunningly disguised my ‘Mondeo’ as a ‘Micra’.

  • IMO, the earth tones and suggestion of natural materials do a wonderful job of making this building look welcoming and cozy from the outside. But the one interior shot does look terribly hospitalish.

  • edward

    “Generous corridors open up to the outside bringing in natural ventilation and light”

    I’m not seeing that on the plan except at one location, a seating area off one corridor. The corridor shot is nothing to brag on, to me. Looks grim. I’m sceptical on the brick but would have to see the context. It reminds it me of camouflage, like a Luftwaffe ME 109 in desert service.

  • Bozo

    Good stuff. The facade and everything else.
    Totally aware of the Australian condition.
    Lyons get better and better.

  • abyssinian

    I’m in love… so soothing and witty.

  • leandro locsin

    Let bricks be bricks and wood be wood.

    The pattern of the brick (pretending to be wood) destroyed the silhouette of form. it lost its integrity.

  • Paul, Yorkshire

    Looks like the layers of rock when they excavate the ground.
    Wish id designed it, great architecture.

  • urban

    yup, I agree with bozo – lyons is getting better and better…

    the brick patterning gives the building a dynamic yet diffuse effect stretching and softening the hard geometry…. nice

  • Can someone please point out a nursing home as cutting edge in design anywhere in Aus? I know the bricks here are a little kitch and the notion of natural light in the corridor is a little fictional, but the overall form is nice. Yes, the rooms are more important!

  • Alexis Harrison

    Beautiful facade! It’s great to see such a sensitive understanding of the material – brick is so often brutal and hard but this is soft, warm, organic and analogous of the surrounding geology. Wish they’d use brick like this here in England