5 Award Winning Communities Examined
The magazine published by the Assisted Living Federation of America, Senior Living Executive, recently announced the winners and runners up of the 2012 Senior Living by Design competition. The award honors assisted living facilities with original and creative architecture – communities that are both functional and downright beautiful. Here are the winning senior housing communities. We’ll highlight some of the runners up in a future post.
Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life in Palo Alto, California is a senior community integrated within a larger multi-generational, mixed use campus. On the beautiful campus there are also low income family apartments, a day care, a park, and a synagogue. This encourages walking and allows the residents to maintain their ties to the greater community and people of all ages. Victor Regnier, a judge of the competition and author of Design for Assisted Living remarked, “A remarkable quality for me is how they had two semi-enclosed courtyards in the assisted living area that are enclosed enough to feel like real spaces yet each one opens up to two different spaces. They connect to each other and out to the urban promenade. It’s like a little town or village.”
Atria Tamalpais Creek in Novato, California is in the heart of wine country, so it’s natural that a winery should serve as inspiration for its design. The judges noted that features such as its terraced roofs, trellised roofs, and lush gardens go far to evoke wine country ambiance. The enticing outdoor area encourages residents to spend warm summer evenings outdoors. Dr. Susan Rodiek, who also judged, noted that, “What makes the project really work is that the creative landscape plan accentuates amenities and invites seniors to come outside and stay.” The community is a major renovation of a building dating from the 1970’s. In the redesign, common areas that weren’t used were re-purposed to create new and interesting “amenity spaces.”
White Oaks Cottages just outside of Boston, Massachusetts is the memory support area of the CCRC Fox Hill Village. The building adheres to principles of the senior living architectural concept of the Green House (which has more to do with providing a homelike environment for seniors than the environmental sustainability). The Green House Project describes itself on its website as “a de- institutionalization effort designed to restore individuals to a home in the community by combining small homes with the full range of personal care and clinical services.” White Oaks Cottage is also adapted for people with memory loss in a number of ways. It “incorporates into its design established colors and other features that mitigate visual/spatial difficulties for people with dementia and provide gentle cuing.” The community also has many large windows to allow maximum natural light into the building, which is also helpful to people with dementia.
The Allegro in Stuart, Florida is a stunning 200,000-square-foot community that offers independent living, assisted living, and memory care on 10 acres. The community was recognized as a superior example of the large-scale hospitality-oriented senior living community, which is very much like a luxurious hotel. Judges noted that its “wide range of luxury amenities suggests an active lifestyle at a resort hotel, while still meeting the goal of a home-like environment.” The community’s magnificent atrium, shown at right, connects the building’s four wings (two for independent living, one for assisted living, and one for memory care).
Citation Christian Home in Osceola, Wisconsin, a small town northeast of Minneapolis is a small community made of three households of 20 residents, one dedicated to memory care, and two to skilled nursing care. One interesting highlight is that its floor-plan revolves around the chapel. The curved shape of the building, illustrated below, also helps to orient residents to their surroundings. Another feature visible in the photo below are the large bay windows, which help let natural light beneficently shine into the community. Despite the fact that the community is connected to a large medical center, it maintains an intimate and homelike feel. The community’s designer says, “A main goal [of the community’s design] was to reflect the combined visions of the provider and the medical center, which is to preserve the individual dignity and independence by providing as much choice as possible in the daily lives of the residents…We proposed small-scale households to create more intimate, accessible spaces.”