As the world is getting healthier and wealthier, the lives on it are longer than ever. There are around a billion people aged 60 or older , more than twice the figure in 1980. Globally, the number of persons aged 80 years or will rise from 137 million in 2017 to 425 million by 2050. These developments create an unprecedented rise in demand for services for older persons. In the United States alone, about 1.5 million people in need of daily assistance reside in retirement homes, a number that steadily keeps rising.
For retirement communities and nursing homes, architecture and beautiful surroundings have long been afterthoughts. However, a new generation of architects doesn’t believe in the stereotypes of retirement homes as drab and passive spaces.
Hence, we created a round-up of five retirement homes around the world that challenge the archaic perspectives about them. Often featuring eco-friendly design, flexible access, and social spaces, these new assisted living facilities enhance the quality of life for their residents.
BaptCare Brookview (Melbourne, Australia)
This 90-bed inviting and comforting complex in the suburbs of Melbourne hosts patients with highly-specialized care needs and dementia.
The earthy tones used in the geometric design align with the natural surroundings. The building maximizes the natural lights and provides an intuitive environment for the residents to socialize in the spacious common areas.
As Australia, too, has an aging population, the complex was built in a way that will be easy to extend the room capacity.
Day Center and Home for the Elderly (Blancafort, Spain)
Completed in 2013 in Spain, this triangle-shaped retirement complex is in complete alignment with the rugged landscapes of the Catalonian municipality of Blancafort.
The designers didn’t want this center to be isolated from the urban life. Hence, the building is open to the three streets surrounding it. Thanks to this feature, residents can interact with their fellow urbanites.
Nevertheless, they don’t need to compromise privacy if they want to relax. Large olive trees adorn the internal courtyard, a nod to the traditional Moorish architecture prevalent around Spain.
Senior Center of Guangxi (Nanning, China)
The residents of this stunning retirement complex in Nanning near China’s Vietnam border share a unique demographic feature in common: They spent their youth during the Cultural Revolution of China. Hence, many will have grown up in farmlands, provided the architectural inspiration to the designers of this center.
The complex reconciles the extremes in the rural topography of the region. It achieves this by creating a transition between the two through a series of shifting horizontal plates.
It also offers a sense of “communal life” through the mimicking of a harsh landscape indoors with modern technology, re-interpreting the archetype of bamboo framing.
Nursing Home (Paris, France)
The glassy exterior of this 129-room retirement home in Paris curves in a way that resembles a human spine. Situated in a vibrant urban area, this nursing home now occupies a space that used to be a railway enclave.
Thanks to the spine-like facade, residents benefit multi-diagonal views of the city. This shape also ensures that the residents make the most of the vitality of the town, and actively participate in urban life. However, with their private patios, balconies, and in-complex common areas, they can also enjoy privacy.
Panorama Retirement Home (Montreal, Canada)
At first glance, this sleek, 30-story tower outside Montreal resembles a futuristic luxury hotel rather than a retirement home. With amenities like a pool, spa, gym, golfing simulator, yoga studio, bowling alley, coffee shop, and a library, the 286-unite complex makes sure its residents keep fit.
The architects behind this sophisticated retirement home interpreted a cloudy sky hanging above the landscape. Many of the long, glazed balconies of the units overlook the River Rivière des Prairies. The polished units and condos cater to different levels of assistance needs.
Breaking the Stigma for Retirement Homes
A shift of paradigm about aging issues is taking place globally. In architecture, this manifests in creative spaces where those in need of assistance can thrive in the new phase of their lives. Cutting-edge design and architecture, high-tech entrance solutions, and new ways to integrate into urban life boost this process.
In the near future, these innovative retirement homes will likely emerge as the norm rather than the exception.