Living by Design AW ARDS

2015 Senior

Fourth-annual competition showcases the importance of mental and physical health and wellness in creating purposeful places

By Sharon Cohen

Argentum’s annual design competition celebrates senior living communities through the innovations of architects, design firms, and senior living providers throughout the United States. Senior living design is never static;

resident preferences are constantly evolving. But through the competition’s four years, foundational themes appear, including safe and engaging spaces for contemplating and gathering, smart spaces enabling staff to offer superior service, and destination spaces such as fitness centers, libraries, or dining rooms that provide purposeful living. Twenty-nine architects and design

firms shared their projects, and this year we invited judges from a wide variety of senior living disciplines, such as an executive director and a resident care vice president, as well as architects, to offer their unique perspectives on what makes dynamic design.

to promote health and well-being. Tis year’s Senior Living by Design winners also exhibited new ways of approaching challenges. Brandywine Senior Living in New Jersey and Balfour Senior Living in Colorado renovated historic buildings by working with the neighborhoods to ensure modifications retained the glory of the original structure while accommodating the needs of older adults. Some communities were flawless in their execution of incorpo- rating a building into the natural landscape, like Laurelwood at Pinehills, in a New England coastal town. Others embraced their settings’ cosmopolitan nature, tapping into residents’ love of nearby shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities such as the opulent Palace at Coral Gables in Florida. One of senior living’s greatest strengths is bringing together residents in social settings, which is scientifically proven to lead to healthier living. Many of the entrants to the design competition focused on togetherness. Te Palace at Coral Gables was designed with hubs of social gathering places so residents can connect and be active with privacy as an option. Residents are often motivated when seeing friends participating. Laurelwood used the rec- ommendations of a resident focus group to feature an entertaining space where residents can visit with family or entertain guests within a common area of the community. Multiple porches were created to serve as additional gathering spaces, while adjacent activity areas


he old adage “home is where the heart is” appears in full bloom throughout senior living design. Communities are increasingly embracing nurturing environments highlighting the need to rest, play, and socialize in creative, accessible, and functional settings. Aesthetics are important but providers are keenly aware of the need for structures to support resident engagement

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