What began as a master planning project has resulted in the reinvention of the community center at Phoebe Berks. The new distinguished, yet down to earth atmosphere reflects their holistic wellness program.
Mind Body Spirit Food
The Mind Body Spirit Food wellness lifestyle program supports Phoebe’s holistic view integrating the “whole person” into everything they do. This encourages residents to look at their futures with eagerness by providing the tools and person-specific life-enrichment plans for each resident. Fitness spaces, multi-purpose space with stage, theater, library, and multiple dining venues are specifically designed and programmed to support this lifestyle initiative.
The reimagined community center includes a comfortable open seating area inside the front door that features a coffee shop with grab-and-go snacks and light meals adjacent to the library with a variety of seating for the ultimate coffee shop experience. This lobby space was formerly dominated by a large “command station” desk with a dining space behind gates.
The former main dining room has become a variety of complementary venues including the casual Bistro 422 featuring a pizza oven and plenty of seating for family and friends. The new outdoor dining patio is popular in temperate weather while the Belle Alto formal dining is available for more traditional served meals. The all-new pub is an active pre-dinner space connected to the bistro and adjacent to the popular game room.
The reorganization of space allows one kitchen to serve multiple venues. This adjacency also allows for flexible, gently screened dining spaces that can adjust as needed.
Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography
Updates to reconfigure and refresh the former café created a vibrant, contemporary dining venue to better serve residents, staff and guests. The “inside-the-box” marketplace renovations opened up and reprogramed the various spaces comprising this casual dining venue.
We began at the front door, shifting the gated portion of the entrance forward so that the new bakery/coffee shop and grab ‘n go store can be accessed even when other marketplace venues are closed. New slatted wood barn doors and interior windows enable residents to have a view into the main bistro and display kitchen preparation areas.
Varied and Intimate Venues
The bakery display is the highlight of the new coffee shop which features the community’s popular pastry chef’s creations. The adjacent Corner Shoppe provides a new grab ‘n go option for between meals and as an alternative to the communal dining options.
The staff corner was an important addition to provide staff members with the option of a relaxed place of respite while enjoying marketplace items. This space also includes a hospitality station with coffee and other beverages as a staff member perk.
A Fresh Approach to Culinary Preparation, Nutrition and Flavor Diversity
The design team collaborated with community leadership and culinary staff members to help define functional goals and prioritize design features. We started by meeting with the kitchen staff to observe how they worked and how the spaces and equipment functioned during mealtimes. Much of the cooking equipment was replaced and upgraded to accommodate more variety, diverse dietary preferences and fresh, made-to-order selections. The new equipment introduced contemporary technology innovations so that much of the food is now presented in an attractive, open-kitchen display format. One of the highlights is a hearth oven introduced at the center of the marketplace.
French Bistro Design Inspiration
The design inspiration for a distinctive atmosphere that reflects a new attitude toward the casual dining experiences. was a Parisian café/bistro. Resident representatives had the opportunity to review finish options and provided input regarding final selections. Bold emerald green wainscot and statement artwork draw eyes into the main dining space. White shiplap on the opposite face and floor-to-ceiling windows on the adjacent wall keep the space bright and airy while providing visual interest and texture.
Givens Estates wanted to update their Oxford Commons amenity spaces to reflect their mission to provide residents the opportunities for a purpose-driven life where they can pursue their passions and explore the possibilities for personal growth and enrichment. Thus, we updated their commons to provide modern amenity spaces that reflect Givens Estates mountain aesthetic.
Multiple dining venues include a flexible gathering space aptly named The Social Brew provides a new place to connect with others over a cup of coffee, light breakfast, or glass of wine.
Market + Craft serves casual dining as well as fresh baked goods, take-out items, and locally sourced goods in the Marketplace. The new patio offers a spot to gather for a meal at a shaded table or relaxation around a fire pit or Terrene provides a formal dining experience highlighted with a chef’s table bar to watch the kitchen action.
Additional renovations included the wellness center which now boasts a newly renovated 1700 SF fitness room and 1100 SF yoga and aerobics studio. A stained glass window triptych was relocated to a more prominent position and backlit to highlight the art inspired by the surrounding mountains. The multi-story grand staircase was refreshed with new finishes and now features a dramatic lighting installation.
Constructed front and center on an existing campus, these senior living apartments and community center connect lifelong learning, holistic wellness and vibrant community.
Community Front Door for Lifelong Learning and Wellness
Located in the heart of campus and visible from the adjacent roadway, the new Learning and Wellness Center fills the need for a community front door. Designed to be a bustling center of activity where connections flourish, the main floor houses a bistro and lounge, art gallery, salon and spa, business center, bank, pharmacy, and auditorium to support the community’s Pathways Institute for Lifelong Learning® classes and other educational and entertainment programs. Spiritual wellness is encouraged in The Quiet Place, a series of small rooms for meditation. The new center also allowed for a consolidation of administrative offices into one central location.
Fitness spaces are located on the ground floor with both internal access and a separate entrance for residents walking, biking or driving from other parts of campus. This area includes a four-lane lap and therapy pool and a spa pool with natural lighting, a state-of-the-art cardio and strength training room with equipment designed for an active aging population and a wellness studio to support group classes.
The Crossings Apartments replaced older single homes with higher density housing that reflects current consumer demands. These new residences provide an indoor connection to community amenities and feature a mix of one bedroom plus den, two bedroom and two bedroom plus den apartments ranging from 1,253 to 1,569 square feet. Open floor plans, natural light and abundant storage were the priorities for these residences. Each apartment also includes one under-building covered parking space.
This project also includes an interior pedestrian bridge over the driveway to provide an interior connection to this campus hub. Residents, team members and visitors are able to walk under cover from the Health Care and Personal Care houses, through The Crossings and the Learning & Wellness Center, and all the way to the apartments on the west side of the community. President/CEO Larry Zook shared that bringing the different parts of campus together under one roof was something residents and team members have dreamed of for many years.Learn more about Wellness
Hospitality was the focus of this project, which implemented long-anticipated updates to the community center and outdoor amenities for this University Based Retirement Community (UBRC). Opened in 2004, the Village at Penn State had not implemented planned second phase additions until after merging with Liberty Lutheran Services in 2012.
A Unique Partnership Creates Palmer Park Outdoor Amenities
Palmer Park is a first-of-its kind fully landscaped park and gardens, featuring professionally contoured golf putting and practice areas, a village green and a multi-purpose area. Designed and completed by the Arnold Palmer Design Company, Palmer Park includes a nine-hole putting course plus a couple of additional holes that bear all the aspects and storied history of the Arnold Palmer signature brand. The synthetic green requires less maintenance than grass, particularly factoring in the region’s sometimes challenging weather conditions.
Palmer Park is complemented by adjacent gardens, walkways and a bistro terrace for al fresco dining. The terrace features a pergola system for sun control as well as outdoor dining and fire pit seating. The park includes a grass lawn area for natural wellness activities such as croquet and yoga, or special events; a town-square type clock; and a bocce court.
Implementing Phase 2 Community Center Additions
The community center was designed in Phase 1 to function effectively when the Village opened, but was planned from the start to be reoriented and expanded as the community grew. The expansion provides a centralized community hub that creates the desired entry experience and connects resident living spaces with amenities and services.
A new entry drive and porte cochere lead into the commons addition which includes a new main lobby, reception, and marketing suite. The existing library was renovated to expand views from the lobby towards Penn State University’s neighboring Beaver Stadium. Additionally, existing corridors received fresh finishes, and the former multi-purpose space and creamery have become the bistro, a new casual dining option featuring a hearth oven and display cooking.
The final piece of the puzzle is a new one-story, 6,200 SF community building. At the center of this building is a 165 seat multipurpose auditorium with raised stage to host, among other things, on-site Road Scholar classes and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) classes. This community gathering space also serves as a conditioned connector between the existing skilled care building, personal care household and the rest of the Village at Penn State community. Other than the cottages on the perimeter of the campus, all buildings are now connected as a result of this community building addition.
A former gymnasium, natatorium and classroom facilities were renovated and expanded. The main element of the new Performing Arts Center is a 750-seat theater with stage and full fly loft. The building includes a second “black box” performance space, as well as classrooms below the theater at a basement level. Back of house spaces include a green room, changing rooms, a scenery shop and storage areas. The adjacent former gymnasium structure was renovated into classrooms, offices and support spaces to form the Humanities Center which includes 26 classrooms, large group instruction area, learning resource area and café.
Photo Credit: Larry Lefever Photography
Library Renovations to Introduce Learning Commons
The initial phase encompassed focus groups, a facility review and an interactive design charrette to introduce mobile computer, group collaborative and other 21st century student learning features into Murray Library. An analysis of mechanical, electrical, plumbing and sprinkler systems, as well as code and accessibility reviews identified opportunities for energy efficiency, occupant comfort and accessibility improvements. The subsequent renovations incorporated Learning Commons into the existing infrastructure and involved flexible design concepts that could be implemented through a multi-phased process.
“RLPS successfully organized a team to integrate Learning Commons Spaces while allowing the library to remain functional with the bulk of the work occurring during the summer.”
Kathie Shaffer, Vice President of Operations; Messiah University
Breathing New Life Into Multiple Areas
The design solution reconfigured the main floor to provide an enlarged “Barnes and Noble” style café and informal study area at the front door. This area has electrical power and wireless internet access throughout and includes a number of collaboration stations that support a range of group gatherings and meetings. Two multi-seat media tables in this area include an integrated audiovisual system that allows students to plug in their laptops for viewing on the flat panel display at the end of the table. Opposite the café is one of three “touchdown” station areas to support student walk-up use for email retrieval, library catalog review and web surfing.
Both floors include new group study rooms with laptop connections, flat panel display and built-in sound system and controls for group collaboration and meetings. Numerous informal private and group work tables with power and internet connections are also provided throughout.
Meeting Current Needs with an Eye to the Future
This update project, funded in part through the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), provided needed space for complementing programs, such as testing and learning /writing centers, to be assimilated into the library. The expanded student run cafe, Cafe Diem, helps to keep students and staff on campus, provides student employment and now serves as a valuable revenue resource for the College. To enable Messiah College to adapt to continually evolving technologies, the Learning Commons areas utilize modular furnishings in lieu of built-ins to accommodate future updates as needed. The design solution also envisions a future mezzanine level to function as a quiet study area.
Award: American School & University Architectural Portfolio Outstanding Design
Photo Credit: Larry Lefever Photography
Through renovations and a modest addition, we enlarged and refurbished the former cafeteria-style café and formal dining rooms to form distinct identities for a Village Bistro, Grand Terrace, Fireside Dining, and the newly created Atrium dining room. Shoji-style sliding wooden doors were introduced to help separate and create distinct identities between the diverse dining spaces while providing flexibility to open up the spaces for functions requiring seating for a large group. The former café is now a bistro which includes a pizza oven, coffee bar/bake shop and mini-grocery. The project also involved interior updates to the private dining room and the pre-dining lounge.
Photo Credit: Larry Lefever Photography
The first step in implementing a campus-wide master plan was updating first impression spaces in the community center. A porte cochere was added outside, while inside the main lobby the focus has been redirected to social areas with the receptionist desk reconfigured as a concierge-style gesture. The café was reconfigured to create a distinctive bistro experience. The library was re-envisioned as a club room to better support the adjacent multi-purpose room. Stairs leading to lower level activity areas were opened up to draw attention to those spaces where finishes and furnishings were updated to maintain a consistent design aesthetic.
The second phase involved creating new venues and breaking down the scale of the dining experiences, as well as expanding and improving wellness venues. Outdoor connections and sustainable strategies are seamlessly integrated into the design solutions. The underutilized courtyard was transformed into a new campus amenity to create engaging outdoor event spaces to complement and enhance the dining and wellness updates.
Award: Environments for Aging Remodel/Renovation Competition, Finalist
Photo Credit (afters): Larry Lefever Photography and Nathan Cox PhotographyLearn more about Wellness
Designed to capture the spirit of a downtown marketplace, this renovated 4,100 square foot café space features a large A-frame roof with 17-foot ceilings. Features include display cooking stations, a bar/lounge and patio dining space. Exposed red brick walls with high window sills pay homage to nearby Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The project doubled the capacity to 96 people with a variety of seating options.
Awards: Environments for Aging Remodel/Renovation Competition Winner
Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography