A long-term career comes full circle for 90-year-old Robert Brittain

Robert Brittain outside the facility he designed

90-year-old Robert Brittain is a long-term resident at Bethanie Illawong in Hamilton Hill. As a retiree he initially occupied one of the 29 independent living units, and as his needs increased he moved into the 39 bed Aged Care Home. 

What makes Robert such a special resident is that some 30 years ago, he was the design architect of the entire Bethanie Hamilton Hill site, a job which gave him immense personal satisfaction and one he looks back on with pride.

“The lovely Illawong site had many Tuart trees and old Grass trees and belonged to Homeswest”, said Robert.

“They wanted a scheme to cater for older pensioners and so they sought out architects Kidd and Povey, who had extensive experience with accommodation for the sector.

“We and worked in conjunction with Churches of Christ Homes and Community Services, which changed their name to Bethanie in 2007.”

Robert studied in Adelaide and then came to Perth after finishing his studies. He worked for several architecture firms and gained a solid reputation when Kidd and Povey asked Robert to join them. He then went on to design the Retirement Village and Aged Care Home that is now known as Bethanie Illawong.

Robert said Brian Kidd was a leader in architectural design for the elderly at the time. 

“There were several outstanding features and we always incorporated certain elements such as single level design with no steps, ample windows to offer views in all directions and cosy independent spaces offering people their own living accommodation.”

Bethanie Illawong Aged Care Home Manager Caroline Covich said, “Robert is such an interesting man, such a great character to have around and he just loves to reminisce on his architectural career which he is very proud of.”