We spotlight the Best of 50+ Housing Awards gold winners, whose new ideas raise the bar of universal design. If you don’t plan, universal design can be boring and dowdy. But in the 50+ Housing Awards, it’s quite the opposite. This year’s program drew projects that pushed the boundaries and challenged the concept of universal design and aging-in-place.
We spotlight the Best of 50+ Housing Awards gold winners, whose new ideas raise the bar of universal design.
If you don’t plan, universal design can be boring and dowdy. But in the 50+ Housing Awards, it’s quite the opposite. This year’s program drew projects that pushed the boundaries and challenged the concept of universal design and aging-in-place. The builders and architects’ designs show that the ability to enjoy home life with full accessibility is the most important aspect of an aging-in-place home — because from the outside in, young or old, there’s no difference.
The following Gold Award-winning projects wow and surprise us, redefining what it means to be an architect and builder for the active-adult market.
Wine Country Luxury
Located on prime Sonoma County real-estate, this active senior community’s design was inspired by the hillside villages of Northern Italy. It offers stunning views and a high level of services and special features, such as a Wine Cave where residents can store their own private reserves and host private parties. Each of the 162 units has a balcony or patio; high ceilings; a washer and dryer; granite countertops; and top-of-the-line appliances. Project name: Varenna
Project location: Santa Rosa, Calif.
Developer/owner: Oakmont Senior Living, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Architect: Oakmont Senior Living, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Interior designer: Oakmont Senior Living, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Best Large Continuing Care Retirement Community
Retire to Another Land
Located in the Kansai region of Japan, this project’s interior and exterior detailing are both elegant and livable. Great landscaping and gardens on the perimeter surround this 760-unit community for well-to-do seniors. It offers a full range of amenities and a high ratio of staff to residents. The ratio of 20 percent nursing rooms to Independent Living units has been determined the best mix for the Japanese market. Project name: Sun City Palace Tsukaguchi
Project location: Osaka, Japan
Developer/owner: Half Century More
Architect: BAR Architects, San Francisco
Interior designer: BAMO, San Francisco
Best Continuing Care Retirement Community Common Area
A Gentle, Urban Resort
Located in the affluent Buckhead area just north of Atlanta, this 24-story high rise has beautiful views of the city’s skyline. The community is Georgia’s first and Atlanta’s only CCRC to be nationally accredited since 1992. It appeals to the active senior seeking a high level of services and amenities along with convenience, security and continuity of care. Project name: Lenbrook
Project location: Atlanta
Interior designer: Interior Design Associates
Best Congregate/Independent Living Community (TIE)
With Retail in Front
Developed on a tight, urban corner lot, this community features an internal entry court with common areas and retail functions facing the street. Retail tenants include a salon/spa and a bistro and restaurant that are open to residents and the general public. Bellettini features 25 different floor plans in one and two-bedroom configurations. The monthly rent includes weekly housekeeping, scheduled transportation, utilities and valet parking. Project name: Bellettini
Project location: Bellevue, Wash.
Developer/owner: Lytle Enterprises, Bellevue, Wash.
Architect: Wattenbarger, Bellevue, Wash.
Interior designer: Sechrist Design Associates, Seattle
Best Congregate/Independent Living Community (TIE)
Up to the Challenge
The Cliff and Terrace Lodges is a 90-home resort-style condominium and apartment complex with access to 30 assisted living apartments. Its designers found a successful solution to the challenge of fitting two large buildings on a confined site with difficult grade changes. It’s located along the Deschutes River and features walking paths, spectacular views and universal design. Project name: Touchmark at Mt. Bachelor Village Cliff and Terrace Lodges
Project location: Bend, Ore.
Developer/owner: Touchmark at Mt. Bachelor Village
Architect: LRS Architects, Portland
Best Assisted Living Community
Homey and Functional
Targeting affluent octogenarians, resident needs are met in living units that include private baths, pantry kitchens and medical alert call systems. The look and feel of home is important to these residents. Staff is on hand to assist residents with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. Located on a tight irregular site, this community lives large, notes one judge. Units are separated by courtyards that surround the well appointed and detailed commons area. Project name: Sunrise Senior Living – Monterey
Project location: Monterey, Calif.
Developer/owner: Sunrise Senior Living, McLean, Va.
Architect: Arbor Building Group, Lafayette, Calif.
Best Multifamily Rental 50+ Community (Market Rate)
Excels in Personal Amenities
In 2007, US News and World Report named the master-planned community of Peachtree City one of the nation’s “Ten Best Places to Retire.” Towne Club features high-end luxury finishes and a high level of personal amenities, including room service and personal masseuse onsite. This community uses exterior elements very well and has a great relationship of resident units to the common amenity areas. Project name: Towne Club at Peachtree City
Project location: Peachtree City, Ga.
Developer/owner: Almquist Hansen, Kennesaw, Ga.
Architect: Niles Bolton Associates, Atlanta
Interior designer: Niles Bolton Associates, Atlanta
Best Multifamily Rental 50+ Community (Affordable)
Affordable Living with Luxury Amenities
The site is a quiet setting surrounded by single family homes and farm houses while conveniently located in front of a shopping center, which includes a grocery store, pharmacy, restaurant and health services. On-site, there is a two-story library; arts and crafts; a doctor’s office; a wellness/exercise center; a game room; and more. Social interaction is a big part of the design, with market rate amenities to enjoy.
Project name: Victoria Park at Walkersville
Project location: Walkersville, Md.
Developer/owner: Osprey Property Co., Annapolis, Md.
Architect: Grimm + Parker Architects, Maryland
Interior designer: Aumen Asner, Baltimore
Best Active Adult Community (Up to 500 Homes)
From Brown to Blue
The design of the building evokes a seaside resort due to its highly articulated façade with gable roofs, highly detailed balconies, horizontal siding and canopies all set off with a vibrant pastel color palette. The location takes advantage of great community facilities adjacent to the site, including a public park with a recently completed community recreation building. Twice a week one of the largest farmer’s market in the area takes place next door. Project name: Parkview Courtand Terrace Lodges
Project location: Torrance, Calif.
Developer/owner: West Millennium Homes
Architect: Withee Malcolm Architects, Torrance, Calif.
Marketing firm: West Millennium Homes
Interior designer: Wren Group
Best Active Adult Community (Over 500 Homes)
Active Outdoor Living
At Sun City Festival, all the floor plans are conducive to a social lifestyle. The community features walking trails, an 18-hole golf course, bocce ball, a basketball half-court, pickle ball courts, sand volleyball, horseshoes, tennis, an outdoor amphitheater, a resort-style pool, a spa and a brand new softball stadium. Inside the 31,000 square foot Sage Recreation Center, residents can enjoy a cultural hall, exhibition kitchen, a computer lab, a state of the art fitness center and the ASU Lifelong Learning Academy. Everything is connected with a pedestrian-friendly circulation system to avoid cars and public roads. Project name: Sun City Festival
Project location: Buckeye, Ariz.
Developer/owner: Pulte Homes/Del Webb
Architect: SHJ Studio, Phoenix
Marketing firm: Chapter 2
Interior designer: Loewen Gunther Design Group, Phoenix
Best Clubhouse at an Active Adult Community (Up to 8,000 Square Feet)
The Clubhouse that has Everything
A 5,000-square-foot community center is the hub for activities and events and caters to residents’ educational, recreational and creative needs. Amenities include live music and dancing; food and wine tasting sessions; educational seminars and more. The center is led by a full-time community lifestyle coordinator. Project name: Traditions at River Oaks Legacy, Heritage, Community Center
Project location: Paso Robles, Calif.
Developer/owner: Estrella Associates, Paso Robles, Calif.
Architect: gbh Partners
Marketing firm: Trace Marketing,
Interior designer: Creative Design Consultants, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Best Clubhouse at an Active Adult Community (Over 8,000 Square Feet)
Branching Out On Site
The site includes rolling terrain, a variety of elevation changes, native grasses and wetlands. To take advantage of the terrain, the clubhouse was perched on a hill to give residents commanding views of the golf course and the front range of the Rocky Mountains. The specific functions of the community center culminated into a dynamic floor plan with four wings that include a library, a grand ballroom, fitness center and more that branch out from the main lobby. Project name: Heritage Todd Creek
Project location: Thornton, Colo.
Developer/owner: Lennar Corp.
Architect: KEPHART community :: planning :: architecture, Denver
Marketing firm: Zimmerman, Boulder, Colo.
Interior designer: Studio 4D, Denver
Best Detached Home at an Active Adult Community (Up to 2,000 Square Feet)
Universally Designed for a Lifetime
Careful attention to the design of the home resulted in incorporating universal design features that are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. Under-cabinet access is available under the cooktop, kitchen sink and master bathroom sink to provide wheelchair access. Wider doors and hallways; level flooring transitions; and multilevel work surfaces provide an open floor plan and easy navigation and access throughout the home. All entrances into the home are stepless and have zero thresholds. Project name: Eskaton National Demonstration Home
Project location: Roseville, Calif.
Developer/owner: Eskaton National Demonstration Home
Architect: BSB Design
Interior designer: Nancy Pape Inc
Best Detached Home at an Active Adult Community (Over 2,000 Square Feet)
Movin’ On Up
The lofty and spacious kitchen is filled with architecture details and accents from the floor to the ceiling. The barreled ceiling is artistically accented with contrasting molding and recessed lighting. The low-maintenance exterior and interior of this home provide a feast for the senses with the use of mixed texture, tone-on-tone color and a unique design that intentionally creates private outdoor living spaces. All living areas are handicap accessible with an open floor plan, and the master bathroom allows for a walk-in shower with seat.
Project name: Residences at Bulle Rock
Project location: Havre de Grace, Md.
Developer/owner: Clark Turner Signature Homes, Belcamp, Md.
Best Attached Home at an Active Adult Community (Up to 2,000 Square Feet)
Safe and Secure at Home
This plan is adaptable for handicapped use, and plugs and outlets have been placed to be accessible. It provides the ability for seniors to live independently while knowing that the services associated with assisted living are on site and available when needed. Project name: Valencia Terrace Plan 2
Project location: Corona, Calif.
Developer/owner: Kisco Senior Living, Carlsbad, Calif.
Architect: Irwin Pancake Dawson Architects
Best Attached Home at an Active Adult Community (Over 2,000 Square Feet)
Large, Luxurious and Accessible
This spacious 3,200-square-foot home has one level, allowing for all the comforts of a larger single-family home with the ease of single-level living. A private elevator brings owner and guests directly into the home’s foyer. Similarly, a five-unit boutique condominium building provides the single-floor lifestyle complete with elevators, extra wide doorways and raised vanities to accommodate the need if a resident became disabled. Every portion of the home is accessible by wheelchair. Project name: Chester River Landing
Project location: Chestertown, Md.
Developer/owner: Covell Communities, Gaithersburg, Md.
Architect: Morgan Design Group
Best Model Home Merchandising at an Active Adult Community (Over 2,000 Square Feet)
Details in this model home were not overlooked. Careful attention was paid to the color palate, molding and interior design. In a single home there is a sauna, billiards room, a media room, and his-and-her retreats decorated in golds, blues and rich wood tones. It’s golden living for the golden age. Project name: Highland Meadows — The Case Model
Project location: Weston, Mass.
Developer/owner: Highland Meadows Real Estate
Architect: CBT Architects, Boston
Best Model Home Merchandising at an Active Adult Community (Over 2,000 Square Feet)
Model Home with Opportunity to Upgrade
The design scheme is targeted toward a discerning home buyer with the ability to upgrade. Limestone is indigenous to the Hill Country and very popular inside and outside. This eclectic design combines rustic finishes with clean, modern furnishings. The sales consultant for this model is of the same age and experience as the buyer and understands that, if demonstrated effectively, upgrades can be a positive rather than a negative.
Project name: The Boulevard at Lakeway Plan 2556
Project location: Austin, Texas
Developer/owner: Penco Companies
Architect: Cornerstone Group Architects
Interior designer: Mary DeWalt Design Group, Austin, Texas