The two-story Torrance Memory Care community is a 56 bed, 37,000 sq. ft. building along the dazzling Pacific Coast Highway. The design is coastal contemporary so although it has all of the required features of a licensed memory care community, the design itself is far from typical.
Real estate along the California coast is in high demand and large lots are at a premium. This site is only .81 acres and has a 28’-0” setback on the north–further limiting the developable area. This extra setback allowed us to incorporate an outdoor courtyard for the residents. There are also 20 on grade parking stalls that had to be factored into to the building’s limited footprint.
Density was achieved by adding a second story extension over the parking and access drive aisle. With the single loaded access drive, a traditional porte cochére (or covered entrance) was impractical. The solution was achieved by incorporating a modern steel cantilevered ported cochére. This achieved the program need while adding a dynamic entry feature with an attractive and resource-friendly vegetated cover. As with every project, we wanted to make the most of existing resources. The exposed drainage from the cover leads to a planter adjacent the front door–taking full advantage of water the cover receives. Provisions are also being made for solar energy to harness the plentiful California sun.
The selected building finishes are stone, cementitious lap siding with varying 8”, and 4” reveals, and stucco siding with expansion joints. The wood on the building acts a clear signifier of entry and establishes hierarchy by its height and sloped roof.
The building strikes a comfortable balance between commercial and residential with the mixed use of materials. Canopies on the upper windows were also added to bring another softening, residential element. The colors were purposefully selected to celebrate the building location while maintaining a soft, refreshing and inviting first impression.
The 56 unit Windsong Memory Care at Eola Hills is a classic study in form and function. This 32,000 square foot building is designed to support the special needs of residents suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The Windsong Memory Care community practices a progressive approach towards extending seniors’ quality of life by incorporating the Montessori style of learning. The building and its exterior open living spaces, activity and sitting areas are designed to help ease feelings of confusion and disorientation while encouraging interaction and activity.
The owner approached Lenity Architecture with a prototypical concept for a figure 8 building design. The site was ideal in the sense that it was surrounded by farmland and residential yet conveniently located for visitors and staff. However, during the site planning and feasibility phase, we found that the size of the site wasn’t conducive for the number of units intended in the original concept design.
To overcome this challenge, the building needed to become extremely efficient in its form and function. The architect divided the original figure 8 design and brought half of the building around in a different configuration. Through creative problem solving, we were able to address the site constraints and in doing so–leveraged the redesign to add beauty and interest to the exterior. The front exterior is broken up and jogs back and forth to create interest and depth. So, although the building itself is large, it feels welcoming and intimate as you approach. Additional design elements such as the combination of wood siding, stone, heavy timber and wood brackets add a rustic feeling that compliments the surrounding area.
The nature of Alzheimer’s and dementia care necessitates high security measures for resident safety. Due to the residents’ constricted access beyond their wing of the building, the quality of their outdoor spaces becomes especially significant.
To compliment the Montessori approach to teaching, private spaces were designed to reduce outside stimulation and allow for quiet one-on-one interaction with staff. Landscaped courtyards in the center of each wing allow for easy access and beautiful views throughout the building. The courtyards are designed to with the five senses in mind–an important component of the Montessori style of learning.
The design challenge was to reduce the courtyard’s appearance of a long narrow space while maintaining the highest level of resident safety. Both courtyards provide a 5 ft. minimum wide unobstructed meandering walk for the residents to safely explore the space. The whimsical paving configuration of each courtyard consists of circular and curvilinear planters arranged to break-up the straight lines of the walled boundaries. A fountain, raised planters, seat walls and trees provide the vertical elements. Non-toxic plant materials were selected to provide texture, contrast, fragrance and floral display. The south patio provided the greatest amount of exposure for sun and contains two small covered patios at each end of the space connected by a meandering sidewalk. Prefabricated concrete manhole cones of two heights were provided as raised planters as gardening therapy for residents.
Windsong at Eola Hill’s first resident, Don, was moved by his family from a different facility where his health was rapidly deteriorating. He had lost significant weight, was not speaking, and appeared to be in a deep depression. As the first Windsong resident, Don was given room number one–his first win of many. He is now the walking club leader and maintains a garden in the courtyard. His weight loss is reversing and he is highly engaged with the staff and residents. Don’s success is an example of the ideal marriage between form and function in that every aspect of the building is designed to allow the Montessori program, staff, and most importantly–the residents–to flourish.
About Windsong Memory Care and the Montessori Approach
Windsong at Eola Hills exists to help seniors and their families find harmony during otherwise trying times. The word “windsong” marries the two senses of hearing and touch–senses that since birth, we associate with reassurance and comfort. Through their core programming, which is based on the Montessori style of learning, residents are encouraged in a safe and supportive environment to explore all five senses through meaningful and familiar activities. Since opening in April of 2015, Windsong staff have already witnessed remarkable strides forward in several residents’ sense of well being and ability.
For more information about Windsong at Eola Hills, visit their website at www.windsongmemorycare.com.
The Caleo Bay Alzheimer’s Special Care Center is nestled at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains providing a tranquil desert setting for patients and visiting loved ones. This incredible site location provides easy access to medical care, conveniences and scenic beauty which made a complex approval process all worth while.
Lenity Architecture provided full architectural services from land use and permitting to Certificate of Occupancy for Caleo Bay’s 33,000 SF, 66 bed community. Located between an active community and commercial use property, Caleo Bay was deemed a transition use property necessitating approvals from both an HOA and BOA. In addition to facilitating the approval process from the neighboring owner’s associations, Lenity Architecture also spearheaded the city’s detailed approval process.
For Caleo Bay and every one of Lenity Architecture’s senior living projects, we work closely with the client to ensure the local jurisdictions understand resident needs. We believe that successful projects are the result of designing a building and site plan with the needs of the residents as the main focus.
Through close collaboration with neighboring communities and local jurisdictions, Lenity Architecture was able to turn the Caleo Bay project into a meaningful opportunity for the entire community to support quality of life for La Quinta’s memory care residents.
The Copper Canyon Alzheimer’s Special Care Center is a 33,000 SF building featuring 66 beds with private and shared rooms. Lenity Architecture provided full architectural services from land use to Certificate of Occupancy.
To preserve the desert’s beauty for generations to come, there is a slope easement for all natural topography in Tuscon. The site design for Copper Canyon Alzheimer’s Special Care Center required careful planning to ensure the local jurisdiction’s guidelines were met–and of equal importance–that Lenity Architecture proved to be a good steward of Tuscon’s precious natural resources. In a short walk around the Copper Canyon community, it’s evident that the topography and native plant and animal life has been successfully preserved and is thriving on every square foot of the property.
Residents enjoy the tranquility of Copper Canyon’s natural setting on the rear patio that extends the full length of the building. Views of the mountains and desert hills frame Tuscon’s awe-inspiring sunsets and can be seen from the terrace or the large windows of the dining room.
Resident well-being is at the very heart of Copper Canyon’s design. By creating an extension of home for seniors that honors the individuals and the land, Copper Canyon Alzheimer’s Special Care Center and its caring staff provide much more than just a place to live–it is a comforting embrace at the close of a long and cherished day.
The Rock Creek Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Surprise, AZ is a 33,000 SF building featuring 66 beds with private and shared rooms. Lenity Architecture provided full architectural services from land use to Certificate of Occupancy. The Rock Creek community was the first project in a 26.5 acre PUD for senior housing. Lenity Architecture set the standard for the design and character of the buildings to follow.
Our client and partner in this project has an in-depth understanding of the needs of residents in an Alzheimer’s and Special Care Facility. Together, we work to ensure residents are comfortable and most importantly, safe, wherever they are–be it in or outside of the building.
The seniors that live in our buildings are an extension of the Lenity Architecture family and every detail is accounted for to ensure their quality of life is preserved to the fullest extent possible.
We look at open living spaces–such as the interior courtyard at Rock Creek Alzheimer’s Special Care Center–as opportunities to find laughter, support and companionship. The intention that is built into each community’s design, coupled with genuinely caring staff, creates a warm extension of home and provides family members reassurance that their loved ones are in good hands.