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.
The goal for this update project was to create an assisted living / personal care residence that looks like any other apartment building rather than a senior care facility. We took our cues from hospitality venues for gracious, contemporary spaces that emphasize color, texture and variety for inviting, visually appealing spaces. Renovations to this occupied building encompassed updates to the lobby, corridors, dining and activity areas as well as individual living spaces, bathrooms and kitchens.
Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography
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.
Expanding and Updating Dining Venues
The main goal of this dining renovation and expansion was to provide a casual contemporary dining experience while also accommodating additional residents thanks to a new independent living product introduced on the campus. Casual dining was expanded and formal, full-service dining received a refresh in a more intimate restaurant space. As the only on-campus dining available to independent living residents, the kitchen and a portion of the dining area had to be functional throughout the carefully phased updates.
Building on the Popularity of Casual Venues
The tavern has always been a popular space with residents who frequently gather for pre-dinner happy hours. Many residents liked to remain in the tavern for dinner, but there was rarely enough seating. We incorporated two rarely used adjacent dining rooms to create a larger, less formal venue modeled after a local Williamsburg-style pub.
In the casual bistro expansion and addition, display cooking now brings the sights and sounds of food preparation out into the dining area as well as giving residents more opportunities to interact with those preparing their meals. The appealing colonial elements were maintained, but updated with a fresh and natural color scheme that reflects the vibrancy of the adjacent patio and the campus landscaping visible through the large storefront-style windows.
We replaced formerly obtrusive acoustic panels in the formal dining venue with panels that blend into the surroundings, but still help with acoustics in the space. Wait stations are now smaller and in less obtrusive locations allowing the food and ambiance to take center stage instead of the serving utilities. Additionally, soft seating added around the refaced two-sided fireplace not only serves as a focal point, but to also offer diners a comfortable place to sit while waiting to be seated for dinner.
Introducing an Outdoor Dining Option
An new outdoor patio area provides an al fresco dining opportunity. This popular new space features dining tables, a pavilion, fire pit and outdoor grilling area. Community gardens needed to be relocated to make room for the dining addition and patio. Residents, initially resistant to moving their gardens, were satisfied with replacement gardens in a new location and the new space has become a well-loved amenity for all residents.
On the tight site, a new maintenance building needed to sit directly beside the expanded patio. Thus, this service building received a higher level of detail/finishes including a herringbone brick detail inset into stucco wall, a partially bricked façade, as well as a roof that coordinates with the adjacent dining gazebo to make the back of the building a feature instead of an eyesore. Additionally, the existing pond located only steps away from the expanded patio needed special considerations and protection both while the renovations were in progress and after completion to keep the view to the pond open. Instead of taller shrubbery, groundcover plantings allow for unobstructed views.
Award: Environments for Aging Remodel-Renovation Competition Bronze Winner
“What an upgrade for the lives of the residents and guests. The addition of casual dining and outdoor dining complements the services already provided and rounds out the offering with an understated elegance. I appreciated the effort taken to break a large space into more intimate “rooms” that provide great scale. The colors, textures, patterns are selected to engage, but not overpower, the individual entering the space. The storefront windows connect the outdoor spaces with the indoor areas nicely. I also appreciate the attention to the view shed and additional work done on the maintenance building to enhance the experience for those on the patio. The display cooking in the casual dining area creates an energetic and engaging experience as well.”
Photography Credit: Nathan Cox Photography
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.
Bring In Outside Community
Renovation of a former café created Health and Harrow—a restaurant, private dining room, bistro, coffee bar, and outdoor patio—to enhance campus life and help to bring the outside community into Pleasant View. This not only provides an additional dining venue for a town that has limited restaurant options, but the extra income also helps to maintain – and even increase – Pleasant View’s benevolence to its residents.
Large storefront windows replace bay windows and a rarely used vestibule just off the patio has been repurposed as two dining alcoves in the front of the bistro. Outdoor connections are highlighted with expanded windows, many with sills less than a foot above the ground, patio dining with a variety of seating options, and a renovated fountain featuring work by a local sculptor.
Hearth and Harrow highlights its local agrarian setting via hand-cut local tiles, local art, textured glass panels from a local glass supplier, reclaimed barn wood, and Edison bulbs inspired by nearby family farms. The name highlights the signature hearth feature and connects back to Pleasant View’s heritage of the family farm reflecting an operational goal to partner with local, Lancaster County food vendors and bring the Farm-to-Table movement to the community.
Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography
We began with a planning initiative focused on expansion to help this senior living rental community meet a growing demand for larger apartments with a second bedroom or den and more modern amenities. The design result was The Homestead, a 144,000 square-foot four-story apartment building and a two-story commons building.
This expansion project added 99 independent living apartments ranging in size from a one-bedroom, one-bath to a two-bedroom, two-bath corner unit. New common spaces include a library, courtyard, pub, living room, dining room and education center. Following completion of the new building, the next planned phase is for conversion of 45 smaller, one-bedroom apartments into assisted-living and memory care rooms.
“RLPS focused on an attractive building that will age well over time with its residents. They are very attuned to quality of life for residents and practical considerations for staff.”
Phil Golden, Executive Director / Prinicipal
Photography Credit: Nathan Cox Photography
Waverly Heights’ community center updates focused on dining venues and wellness spaces, and also provided a more open and welcoming entry experience. The former reception area was replaced with a concierge desk and the corridor was widened to provide a contemporary seating area that reflects the vernacular of Philadelphia’s Main Line. Connections to a 100-year-old mansion on the campus are now a highlight of the first impression by showcasing the historical building’s exposed stone walls.
A Fresh Approach to Food Preparation and a New Attitude Toward Dining
The casual dining experience transitioned from a predictable cafeteria style service with behind the scenes food preparation to a front and center display of food preparation at its finest. The transformation supports dining service and production changes allowing an emphasis on farm-to-table ingredients and made-to-order selections, as well as increased chef engagement with residents. The new scatter-style food stations utilize up-to-date technology innovations to keep foods precisely hot or cold for longer times while helping to alleviate circulation issues and resulting wait times associated with the former cafeteria style set-up. Removing walls that separated the dining areas from the serving lines allowed more natural light into the space and created an open and appealing setting that elevates the food preparation process.
The updated Atrium Dining Room provides full-wait service selections, prepared in the updated display kitchen, along with courtyard views though a towering glass wall. A new, intimate scale formal dining room features a distinctive wine wall element that is visible from the corridor. All of the updated dining areas take full advantage of natural light and outdoor connections while highlighting the existing architectural detailing.
Wellness Expansion within the Existing Infrastructure
Wellness center updates included enlarging the pool to accommodate lap swimming and aquatic classes, adding a new aerobics/dance studio, and new massage and manicure/pedicure rooms as part of a relocated and expanded salon. A major challenge was lengthening the existing pool to better serve aerobic and lap exercising needs without an addition to the building. The solution involved working with residents and staff members to find suitable alternate locations for an existing art studio and clubroom to free up the needed expansion space. Fortunately, the existing structural framing allowed for a straightforward, but unique expansion with acoustic ‘airfoil’ baffles that add aesthetic appeal as well as functional value.
Award: Environments for Aging (EFA) Remodel-Renovation Competition Gold Winner
“Not only were the aesthetics greatly enhanced, this team fundamentally improved the important functions of these wonderful spaces. This remodel added interactive and highly mobile spaces versus just remodeling more “sitting areas” which is too common in our profession. This very attractive remodel draws people into the spaces and celebrates added choice and enhanced lifestyle!”
Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography
Presidents Pavilion, a three-building hybrid homes™ apartment complex, is the first phase of a multi-year independent living expansion. Each building is five stories tall with covered parking as the first story. The hybrid homes incorporate a traditional brick-accented exterior to blend seamlessly into Patriots Colony’s stately Colonial Williamsburg architecture. Three distinct layouts for the 60 individual residences feature open floor plans, a master suite with a walk-in closet, full-size washer and dryers, patios and covered balconies.
Renovations to the community center focused on dining updates to provide a contemporary experience and accommodate additional residents. Casual dining, including a bistro with display kitchen and pub, were expanded and formal full-service dining received a more intimate restaurant space. An outdoor patio area was expanded to provide for al fresco dining and incorporated a new pavilion, fire pit and outdoor grilling area.Learn More About Hybrid Homes
Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography