Southern Market – Historic Reinvention

Lancaster, PA

This restoration and renovation project preserved Southern Market’s architectural and historical significance while modernizing its function. The market was built in 1888 and was designed by Lancaster architect C. Emlen Urban. As a lively new food hall, Southern Market pays homage to the original function as a market, while serving as a new hub of activity in downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Every effort was made to maintain and preserve the character and integrity of the historical design that earned it status on the National Register of Historic Places while securing its longevity for years to come.

Food Vendors

In tribute to the original use as a market, the 7,500 square foot main space houses the food hall with 10 vendors and seating for 250 patrons in a reimagined modern food-centered venue.

The Southern Market vendor spaces are an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to start their own restaurant operations and earn recognition for their cuisine. Each vendor is supported with access to a large communal production kitchen. After 18 months of building their reputations, vendors are encouraged to open their own establishments. This structure results in a variety of cultural cuisines that are continually cycling in new talent.

Bar 1888 & Green Wall2-story green wall made of preserved moss behind a wrap-around bar under an iron-work canopy

In the middle of the main food hall is Bar 1888, a 30-seat bar. The bar serves as a focal point and the hub of social engagement throughout the hall.

The new metal canopy’s arched forms complement the exposed ceiling trusses that soar above while also grounding the open two-story space. Though industrial in form, its detailing complements the wooden panels and light fixtures that surround the marbleized bar top. The canopy also serves to create a sense of intimacy at the bar.

The vertical green wall accentuates the height of the space while adding a natural component to soften the interior palette and provide a pop of color. It was designed as an opportunity for brand signage. The preserved moss also functions as acoustic absorption to counter the hard surfaces throughout the space.

Co-Working & Community Space

The second story of the market hall is encircled by rentable coworking office spaces. Each office preserves the original architectural elements, including painted brick, tie rods, and arched windows, while complementing these features with contemporary glass-paneled enclosures.

In addition to smaller offices, some larger spaces are available to small businesses and startups. The communal kitchen offers both functional amenities as well as a space to network and relax. A series of rentable conference rooms and open collaboration areas make sure that all forms of operations are supported.

The project was made possible through a strategic partnership between Willow Valley Communities which oversees the market’s operations and local nonprofit organizations, Lancaster Equity and Assets which utilize some of the office spaces.

AIA Central Pennsylvania – Excellence in Design Merit Award

Photographs courtesy CCS Building Group

Phoebe Berks – Grant Harrity Community Center

Wernersville, PA

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.

Chef placing pizza in pizza oven Reorganized Spaces

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.

Flexible Spaces

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

Chestnut Ridge at Rodale

Emmaus, PA

A Wellness-Focused Senior Living Satellite Community

Phoebe Ministries identified Emmaus as an underserved market opportunity for a senior living satellite community.  Following the sale of the Rodale publishing company, the 38-acre headquarters was vacated.  This unique property led to the vision for Chestnut Ridge at Rodale, a wellness-focused residential community for ages 62 and up that embraces the Rodale values of melding fitness, organic dining, and wellness.

The community will evolve in phases, beginning with adaptive reuse of the former Rodale offices into 122 apartments. The three-story office building will be converted into one and two-bedroom apartments with a center courtyard.  An adjacent one-story office building will be replaced with a four-story, horseshoe-shaped apartment building featuring views of nearby South Mountain.

Community connections

The vacated office campus provided a unique opportunity to engage with the town while creating a distinctive, pedestrian-friendly campus that continues Rodale values relating to health and vitality. An existing onsite childcare center will continue operation and Phoebe intends to develop intergenerational programming. An adjacent service garage that was most recently used as a farmer’s co-op has been converted into the welcome center and sales office.  When Chestnut Ridge opens, this building is envisioned to function as a farmer’s market.  Likewise, a former warehouse now houses a full-size apartment mock-up, with future plans for it to serve as a resource for the greater community, potentially housing the Emmaus Arts and Innovation Center.

Chestnut Ridge at Rodale will maintain and enhance the walking and biking trails on the campus while creating new amenities including an amphitheater for both residents and neighbors. Construction will seek to limit the disturbance of the existing green space, take advantage of existing parking lots, and promote residents’ experience of the natural setting.

Rodale legacy

Building on the Rodale legacy, Phoebe will include raised gardens, programmed courtyards, and walking trails connected to the adjacent nature preserve, as well as sustainable features such as a green wall at the new exterior entrance into the courtyard in the former office building and a green roof for the natatorium.  A new amphitheater transitions up to the park and the design concepts maintain the existing trees as a backdrop to the amphitheater.

Technology to support aging in place

All apartments are equipped with smart technology infrastructure and include a base package with lighting and temperature controls that can be supplemented with additional features at move-in or in the future as needed.  Residents can choose from a wide array of options for supportive technology, social connections and health tracking/monitoring with the expectation that more features will become available as the technology continues to evolve.

Unique courtyard

Opening up the center of the former office building provides daylight and views for the converted apartments.  The design literally cuts a hole in the center of the building, replacing an enclosed atrium with an open courtyard. A green wall made up of live plants highlights the new opening and is visible from the street. Storefront windows with boxed-out bays and French balconies extend outdoor connections for the homes and help prevent the narrow courtyard space from feeling constricted.

A panelized façade system and a row of trees further help to create an appealing human-scale ceiling for this courtyard which features raised gardens for resident and dining program chef use. In the new building, apartments are sequentially angled in a horseshoe formation for expanded views.  The fourth-floor apartments have a taller sloped living room ceiling with transoms above the patio door for even more light.


Brethren Village – Short-Term Rehabilitation Center

Lititz, PA

This renovation to create a new rehabilitation center focused on biophilic design principles to foster connections with nature—whether sunlight, organic materials, outdoor views or nature photography.  Stone tile feature walls in patient suites and common areas, translucent resin panels incorporating botanical elements and bright splashes of color throughout create an uplifting, restorative environment that functions as a silent partner, reinforcing the delivery of quality care.

Photo credit: Larry Lefever Photography

Givens Estates – Oxford Commons

Asheville, NC

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.

Patriots Colony

Williamsburg, VA

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.” 

Juror Comments

Photography Credit:  Nathan Cox Photography

The Lofts at Village on the Isle

Venice, FL

Master planning resulted in a multi-phased update process, with some buildings to be replaced and others reinvented over the course of several years.  This began with the conversion of the 80,000 square foot Mark Manor assisted living residence into The Lofts updated households.

The former Mark Manor building had a sturdy concrete structure that was in good condition and well suited to the Florida climate. This client made the fiscally-responsible decision to work with the “good bones” and reinvent each floor to create person-centered households. The overall census dropped from 90 beds to 64 suites, 16 on the second floor for residents with dementia and 48 on three other floors for assisted living.

Façade Updates

The dramatic changes to the building are immediately apparent with the revitalized exterior façade, updated to be compatible with new construction on campus. A variety of window types and sizes, stucco color placement to define masses, and smaller details such as railings and brackets combine to accomplish a visually appealing and renewed building on campus. Clear, insulated impact glass replaced the former pink tinted windows and hurricane shutters.

Avoiding Multiple Moves for Residents with Dementia

Despite the added challenges associated with vertical mechanical and plumbing infrastructure when renovating a middle floor, the owner decided to start on the second floor so residents with dementia would not have to move multiple times. Updates were carefully implemented to maintain utilities on other floors while replacing plumbing stacks and upgrading mechanical systems in the renovated spaces.

Due to the eight-foot floor to ceiling height, every bulkhead is functional to maintain as much height as possible while introducing outside air through a new mechanical system. The wood ceiling system conceals mechanical and existing structural components and simulates greater ceiling height.

Creating Households

Each floor was reconfigured to provide larger, private suites, along with expanded common household spaces. Several resident units on each floor were eliminated to gain much needed neighborhood living/dining space. A new great room was introduced for each household and larger exterior windows were configured within the building façade to increase natural light and outdoor views.

The nurse station was replaced with a full kitchen in the dining area of the great room. State of the art food service equipment was integrated into custom cabinetry and lowered counters with eased edges allow residents to take part in the chef’s culinary creations. A pantry service area is provided behind the kitchen and the elevator lobby has been re-envisioned as a foyer with a front door leading into the common living spaces much like the entry experience in a private residence.

“A great example of how to successfully work with in an existing envelope with restricted ceiling heights. The new residential style open kitchen is a great addition to the renovated great room. The elimination of the old style prominent nursing station is a great step and should be emulated by others.”   

Environments for Aging Remodel-Renovation Competition Finalist, Juror Comments

Photo Credit:  Nathan Cox Photography (exteriors) Prion Photography (interiors)

Waverly Heights Community Center Updates

Gladwyne, PA

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!”

Juror Comments

Photo Credit:  Nathan Cox Photography

St. Vincent’s Seminary

Philadelphia, PA

Interior renovations to a skilled nursing residence for retired priests focused on updating the existing spaces to provide a better quality of life in a comfortable, appealing setting. We updated the existing modern design aesthetic with contemporary finishes while eliminating many of the institutional features that made the living spaces feel like a hospital.

Built-in bookshelves were added to resident rooms and the addition of a full accessible shower with half wall supports resident dignity and privacy. The biggest change was replacing the central nursing “command station” with a new living room that focuses attention on a distinctive fireplace feature rather than staff areas which are now tucked behind the scenes.

Photo Credit:  Nathan Cox Photography

Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill

Lafayette, Hill, PA

Renovations included updating the building’s original façade and adding a pergola for a more inviting entry experience and contemporary aesthetic for a consistent exterior vernacular for the community. The 96,000-square-foot addition resulted in 60 new apartment homes, bringing the total number of residences on the campus to 158.

Awards: Publication in Environments for Aging Design Showcase


Photography credit: 2015 Gregory Benson