Chestnut Ridge at Rodale

Emmaus, PA

Phoebe Ministries identified Emmaus as an underserved market opportunity for a 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.


Masonic Village – Freemasons Building

Elizabethtown, PA

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

Masonic Village – Clinics Building

Elizabethtown, PA

Renovations to this 21,942 square feet, three-story, fully-occupied and operational healthcare building encompassed upgrades to waiting areas, corridors, evaluation rooms, administrative areas and therapy spaces with accommodations for bariatric patients. We utilized nature-inspired finishes and artwork along with bright pops of contemporary color to create a comfortable, healing environment.

Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography

Kirkland Village – Northwood Gardens

Bethlehem, PA

This senior living community expansion introduced a new luxury housing model. The terrace-style hybrid homes reflect a high caliber design for gracious living. Each building provides direct connections back to the community center. The common areas on each floor focus on sophisticated, contemporary styling with bold colors and metallic accents. We also assisted the client with interior design for a model home apartment and sales center during construction.  Low or zero-emitting, recycled content and regional materials were selected to help the building achieve LEED for Homes Silver Certification.

Learn More About Hybrid Homes

Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography


Chestnut Ridge at Rodale – Sales Office & Model Apartment

Emmaus, PA

A new active adult community will evolve in phases, beginning with adaptive reuse of the former Rodale publishing company offices into apartments. The property is currently in the development phase so the sale office and model apartment are critical tools to help achieve the owner’s vision for a new residential community that embraces Rodale values of melding fitness, organic dining and wellness

An adjacent garage building, previously used by Rodale as a farmer’s co-op, has been converted into the welcome center and sales office. A former Rodale warehouse now houses the full size mock-up of a model apartment. The interior design of the welcome center maintains the existing building’s industrial aesthetic complementing the contemporary agrarian theme planned for the new community.  Hospitality and technology are comfortably integrated to provide an appealing experience. Interactive touch-screens are combined with artfully arranged presentation visuals to help prospective residents explore floor plans, finish options and community amenities.  The space is designed for flexibility to accommodate individual visits as well as special events hosting larger groups.

The model apartment helps visitors envision the scale, finishes and layout of a typical residence.  This mock-up space was staged to show a functional and attractive furniture layout for the apartment model floor plan, with accessories added to for the visual appeal of a comfortable, contemporary home.


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.

The Courtyards at Lowman

Chapin, SC

The Courtyards at Lowman are a collection of pocket neighborhoods that provide a new monthly rental option for seniors at a middle income level. The first phase is comprised of two pocket neighborhoods, each offering ten unique cottage-style apartment homes with common spaces to encourage a sense of shared experience among residents. The grouping of ten homes helped to increase density on the eight-acre site while maintaining the single-story cottage-style desired in the region. The site plan envisions future phases of pocket neighborhoods that are being constructed incrementally.

Middle Market Pocket Neighborhoods

The individual apartments range in size from 740 to 1,018 square feet. The open floor plan models are designed for maximum flow and natural light. Included features include walk-in closets, accessible bathing and side-by-side washers and dryers. Each home has both an open courtyard, perfect for socializing with neighbors, and a more private rear porch for relaxing or charging a golf cart. A dedicated vehicle parking spot is provided just a short walk away.

Creating a Sense of CommunitySHN Design Award to The Courtyards at Lowman

A 520 SF clubroom is included in each pocket neighborhood to provide a space where residents can gather together, entertain guests or enjoy a range of potential wellness, lifelong learning or other programming. Each apartment cluster surrounds a landscaped common courtyard with livable porches to enhance outdoor recreation and socializing with neighbors.

Outdoor Amenities

A new patio with outdoor fireplace was added between the new pocket neighborhoods and existing community spaces.  Outdoor walking paths and sidewalks connect residents living in the pocket neighborhoods to the Heritage at Lowman wellness center which offers bistro dining, a full fitness center and other resident services and amenities.

More about Senior Housing News Architecture and Design Award

Photography Credit:  Nathan Cox Photography

The Grove at Meadowood Senior Living

Worcester, PA

The next step in implementing the Meadowood campus master plan involved adding a new independent living residential offering on a portion of the existing senior living campus.  Four hybrid home buildings, each comprised of two floors of residences over under-building parking, surround a new campus pond, fire pit, seating areas, and pergola to be enjoyed by the entire community.

The 52 residences range between 1300-1800 SF and each has its own corner view that allows in ample daylight. Each unit also features a balcony or patio in addition to contemporary features, full laundry rooms, and walk-in closets in each bedroom. Each floor is also anchored by a central seating area where residents can gather to socialize.

Learn More About Hybrid Homes

Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography


Plantsville, CT

Since 1992, the dementia specialists at LiveWell have focused exclusively on supporting individuals at all stages of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Multi-faceted updates will define the next generation of support, helping people live well.  The LiveWell campus offers residential care, community services and resources for people living with dementia and their families.

The Center for Resilient Living Adult Day Programming

The Center for Resilient Living (CRL) enhances LiveWell’s adult day programming by providing purpose-built spaces to explore interests and pursue passions through classes, workshops, arts, cultural, social and wellness opportunities.  In addition to serving current LiveWell residents, the CRL extends its services to people from the surrounding community. The CRL also provides a platform for LiveWell’s monthly memory cafes, educational seminars, and other initiatives to drive positive change through research, thought leadership and education.

Destination spaces include a café, demonstration/test kitchen, greenhouse, classrooms, visual arts room, exercise equipment studio and yoga/movement studio, wellness treatment rooms, a theater, media room/learning lab, four seasons room and dining terrace. The building plan is organized around a curving central corridor that promotes transparency between the program spaces and interstitial zones.  As a new front façade to the LiveWell campus, the CRL captures outdoor space to organically form enclosed courtyards. Each is intentionally designed with a specific definition and meaning related to the adjacent interior spaces.

Glassy corridor links allow participants to see what is going on both inside and outdoors – inviting them to naturally explore and participate.  Stone and wood materials wrap from the exterior façade to the interior in several locations, encouraging users to touch, feel, and interact with the architecture.

The River Homes: A New Housing Option for People Living with Dementia

Campus updates include the introduction of the River Homes—a unique living arrangement for people with dementia who need limited support. This new housing option was the result of a planning process that provided a forum for people living with dementia to help define programming objectives.

The River Homes are four paired small houses that take advantage of surrounding views.  Each residence provides a co-living setting, for seven elders and one care partner, with all of the comforts and human scale of a traditional home.  Paired homes share a quiet room, great room and covered deck on the first floor and lounge, four-season room and green roof patio space on the second floor.

Each individual house has its own kitchen, dining and four-season room, seven elder rooms and a loft apartment for the care partner. Parking for care partners and additional campus staff is tucked under the building, hidden from the front, and accessed from the back where the grade drops down.

Elders living in the River Homes will have access to LiveWell’s Center for Resilient Living for additional engagement and enrichment opportunities, as well as the licensed assisted living care residence if additional support needs arise.

Listening to People Living with Dementia to Define Programming Priorities

Persons living with dementia were viewed as equal partners in decision-making.  Programming goals and design concepts were evaluated within the context of how these true experts defined priorities during focus groups and the design charrette.  The design result is a new senior housing option and an open and engaging collection of distinct adult day venues, each specially imagined for a unique function and creating opportunities for authentic interactions and meaningful experiences.

Honorable Mention, Environments for Aging Design Showcase