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CONTEMPORARY DESIGNS TAKE SENIOR LIVING TO THE NEXT LEVEL


BY JANE ADLER


Forget the stereotypes of what a retirement community should look like. This year’s Argentum Senior Living by Design winners showcase best-in-class contemporary ar- chitecture, featuring open layouts, large windows, light- filled interiors, natural finishes, clean lines, and comfort- able spaces.


The designs take their cues from the surrounding neighborhoods and landscapes. Views connect the in- side to the outside, whether it’s a busy streetscape or vast desert. Interior color themes are drawn from the lo- cal topography. Muted backgrounds and materials are often interspersed with pops of bright color to create focal points of interest. Each winning design leverages the unique qualities of the property. Belmont Village Albany in California is situ- ated on land owned by University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). The university’s blue and gold colors are prominent throughout. Merrill Gardens at Ballard is lo- cated in a Seattle neighborhood with Scandinavian roots, the inspiration for a design with blonde woods and blue accents. At The Ridge in Salt Lake City, the views of the foothills and mesas take center stage. Wellness is a theme that runs throughout the winning designs. Fitness centers are prominent project elements. Spring Lake Village in California created a new fitness cen- ter and auditorium and placed it at the property entrance—a signal that wellness is a way of life at the community. The designs are partly driven by residents and local stakeholders. Belmont Village Albany involved input from


6 SENIOR LIVING EXECUTIVE / ISSUE 6 2017


groups at UC Berkeley. Residents of Spring Lake Village wanted its new building to be environmentally sound. The results are resident friendly with a focus on inclu- sion. Common areas are bright and open, often connect- ing a variety of spaces. Special attention is given to hip dining venues, with display kitchens and pizza ovens. Look up. Even the light fixtures are bold, in a variety


of shapes and colors. One ceiling is covered with a veri- table garden of lighted glass. Design challenges are met in unique ways. Creative configurations fit buildings onto small parcels. Dated structures get smart overhauls. Special thought is given to outdoor spaces. Club Solé


at the Colonnade in Arizona has a large desert gar- den with indigenous plants, walkways, a waterfall, and a creek. Merrill Gardens at Ballard features a rooftop deck where residents can sit by the fireplace and enjoy the view of Puget Sound and the active streetscape be- low. Belmont Village Albany and Club Solé have interior courtyards where residents can socialize in a comfort- able outdoor setting. The 26 other Senior Living by Design nominees re-


peat many of these trends, highlighting flexible designs with a local flavor in mind. But all the designs share something in common. They increase resident engagement in environments that of- fer a new approach to aging, leaving many of the old stereotypes behind.


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