A Life in Balance
“In time, we may even come to accept balance between structural and emotional as the essence of beauty.” Anonymous
An underlying concept in any vibrant community is balance. It is not a concept that belongs to only one generation. By its nature it links everyone together.
After gathering input from the community, our design team imagined ourselves as the co-housing “elders” to determine the types of spaces we would desire for our own senior living needs. As we discussed our future daily lives “aging together in community”, we determined several key concepts that drove our design:
- A full range of “privacy realms”, from social hubs that promote community interaction, to serene private zones for personal contemplation.
- A human-scale environment that encourages interaction with family, friends, pets, and people from all age groups.
- A connection to the neighborhood context, while providing a unique “sense of place”.
Our ideal living unit features a large central gathering space with private sleeping/study areas and outdoor space. Along the common corridors a “front porch” provides the opportunity to interact with neighbors, create a personalized entry, and maintain a transition between public and private. Accessibility, “visitability” and adaptability were key words that drove our design.
To compliment the individual living units, the building hosts a variety of community spaces, which can be programmed for activities by the residents, as well as areas open to the general public, such as the market, café, volunteer center, and courtyard. These spaces allow residents and other members of the neighborhood to utilize the building within the balance of their lifestyle.
The overall building is three stories high with a set back roof garden level, fitting into the general scale of the surrounding neighborhood. In consideration of natural views, light, ventilation, as well as privacy, the building façade has varying degrees of setback and massing.
At a global scale, this community strives to recognize its own influence on our planet and integrates sustainable living and building practices into the community life. The building makes use of green materials and technologies, such as an inhabitable green roof, ground source heat pumps, and rainwater harvesting. It also offers easy access to recycling and takes advantage of natural light and ventilation.
The resulting scheme promotes a balance of community and privacy, independence and assistance, and vitality and respite. Together this allows everyone to age together within community and with dignity.
Brady Street neighborhood