Assisted Living Center
Addressing the issue of an increasing demand for assisted living centers due to aging baby boomers, I designed a space to provide a sensory experience through the vehicle of the four elements: fire, water, earth and wind. In the final chapter of a lifetime of work, all people should be rewarded by the place they call home. I believe the assisted living center should be purposed with providing contemplative vistas where one can reflect on one’s life, and the idea that there is more to life than just the self.
Embedded in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, I drew inspiration for the Center from the quiet power of the natural landscape in which it exists. Upon entry via the west entrance, one arrives at a large central core, a main gathering space and circulation hub for the residents. Looking through the space, the visitor takes in the panoramic horizon beyond the east façade. The flanking north and south wings, divided along the central axis, each provide the location of all other programmatic components for the center, private apartment units to the east, and both administrative offices, and the public dining room to the west.
While in the central space, the residents experience a comforting sensation via the use of nature’s most primitive elements from which all mankind can relate. Looking west, the descending arches lead the eye through the main entrance doors, across the breezeway, where the movement of the wind captures the suspended fabric panels. Located in the central lowest point in the space, the fire in the hearth radiates heat and light in all directions. Water moves through the space and almost directly into the fire, thus filling the space with shimmering light reflected from the skylight above and the soothing sound of water in motion. Finally, on the second level balcony, two great stone masses rest on either side of the fountain, marking the entrance to the second level balcony, and suggest a sense of solidity and permanence.
This space, dedicated to the celebration of life asks what man has made of time in the earthly plane, and the quiet power that lies beyond man’s embrace.