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Architectural Innovation in Assisted Living Design: ALFA Winners

Dana Larsen
By Dana LarsenNovember 26, 2012
ALFA Senior Living by Design Winners

Design meets functionality. This is ever so important when it comes to building assisted living and memory care communities. Accommodating health issues including handicap accessibility, to managing wandering tendencies associated with Alzheimer’s disease and incorporating the many needed facilities — all while creating a desirable ambiance — are factors that go in to successful senior living.

The annual Senior Living By Design Awards program “showcases diverse projects that marry innovative design with functionality and beauty, honor resident choice, and promote independence,” according to Argentum( formerly Assisted Living Federation of America). The two judges  — Victor Regnier, FAIA of the University of Southern California, and Susan Rodiek Ph.D., NCARB, EDAC of Texas A&M University — are well known experts in senior living functionality and design and chose communities that offered not only creative architecture, but also a combination of beautiful interior and exterior living spaces.

Join us in congratulating the winner’s of Assisted Living Federation of America’s 2012 Senior Living by Design competition!

5 Senior Living by Design Award Winners

1. Grand Prize: Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life, Palo Alto, CA

Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life, Palo Alto, CA, photo courtesy of ALFA

Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life is a mixed-use campus that incorporates senior living activities — such as a park and engaging social community — with low-income apartments, a synagogue and beautiful ambiance. Seniors can enjoy multigenerational living, a sense of community and urban feel, all without breaking the bank. “This is a stunning contemporary building. In a beauty contest, this would be a Miss Universe contender,” says Regnier. This 193-unit continuing care retirement community is located on 12 acres of Palo Alto assisted living splendor, and offers a one-of-a-kind concept of engaged society in senior living —all while offering memory care, independent living and assisted living residences.

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2. Award of Excellence: Atria Tamalpais Creek, Novato, CA

Atria Tamalpais Creek, Novato, CA, photo courtesy of ALFA

This Silver LEED-certified project inspires awe as a 1970s two-story building is brought into the 21st century; incorporating not only the natural splendor of wine country, but also a detailed and creative space that offers many outdoor amenities for the senior citizen. What else will revive the senior spirit more than an aesthetically pleasing vineyard with lush gardens, tasting rooms and dining areas in Novato, CA? Not much, according to the judges: “The entire site is planned with a variety of spaces,” Rodiek comments. “The bird garden in the northwest corner has inviting looping walkways. The outdoors is as interesting as the outdoors.” Atria Tamalpais Creek offers seniors a special treat for the senior soul. Even Rodiek notes, “They’ve taken a 30-year-old congregate care building and pumped new life into it.” Nothing like an ambiance of rejuvenation to stimulate good life.

3. Award of Excellence: White Oak Cottages at Fox Hill Village, Westwood, MA

White Oak Cottages at Fox Hill Village, Westwood, MA, photo courtesy of ALFA

The future of senior living is memory care, according to many, as the baby boomer population is reaching 65+ at 10,000  a day — with many suffering from incurable Alzheimer’s. White Oak Cottages at Fox Hill Village in Westwood, MA offers the Green House design concept to offer not only innovative design, but also to accommodate and offer better quality-of-life to a population whose minds require specific stimulation. The two 8,200-square-foot residences are larger than typical, offer a stimulating and safe wandering environment as well as more privacy. “This different design affords more breathing room and allows the 12 senior bedroom/bathroom suites in each to circle the common areas, which include living room adn hearth, dining room, kitchen, den and enclosed therapeutic patio/garden,” according to Regnier.

4. Citation: Allegro of Stuart, FL

Allegro of Stuart, FL, photo courtesy of ALFA

The Allegro of Stuart, FL offers 200,000 square feet of living space on 10 acres. This stunning architectural masterpiece looks like a luxurious hotel, but offers the functionality of independent living, assisted living and memory care. Camouflaged by a hospitality-oriented senior living community, Allegro of Stuart offers more than beauty to its residents; it offers an active senior lifestyle in a resort home-like environment. This incredible community offers many amenities to offer an active senior lifestyle, such as two formal dining rooms, a bistro, a garden cafe, a pool and full-service spa, stadium theater, gardens and Wii room with three game stations. “An elegantly designed atrium allows for generous natural light and prompts people to come together at the building’s center,” Regnier comments.

5. Citation: Christian Community Home, Osceola, WI

Christian Community Home, Osceola, WI, photo courtesy of ALFA

This lovely community in Wisconsin is divided into three 20-resident households, two for skilled nursing and one for memory care. Christian Community Home offers the comfort of a small community and social engagement with a floor plan that revolves around a chapel. The design accommodates beautiful bay windows for its residents and offers a state-of-the-art medical center. The “intimate, accessible spaces,” according to the design team, offer a myriad of amenities, including spaces for family gathering, private dining, common living areas, as well as, spas salons and walking paths. A wellness center, interior courtyards and an outdoor amphitheater enhanced by patio dining add to the communities impressive lure. A curving walkway lined with a half wall topped by columns provides a comfortable, open-circulation route around dining areas which “encourages the opportunity to talk to people nearby,” according to Rodiek. “The curve helps orient you to the outside of the building and the inside of the courtyard” she notes. Traffic flow incorporating wandering tendencies in memory care are just a few of the components that accompany this architectural gem.

Read more about the Argentum Senior Living by Design Awards, where hotel amenities and indoor/outdoor living figure prominently in the independent living, assisted living and memory care merits.

Which of these senior living communities stand out to you or a loved one? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Dana Larsen
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Dana Larsen

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