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The Hoevezavel Senior Center is an important project that addresses various emerging issues surrounding an increasingly elderly population. With a more vocal presence, a distinct diversity of social, physical and psychological needs, as well as a desire for broader social networking possibilities, the elderly of today are redefining the need for a new attitude towards senior care. While this population will require specialized care, there is also the recognition that there is a tension between the need for accommodating for a more domestic, independent and autonomous existence for its individuals and the context of an institutional framework. The architectural problem, in part, has to do with how one establishes an identity, organization, and set of social relations that escapes the feeling of institutionalization while understanding the economics of such an endeavor.
Between the two courtyards, a central building ties the north and south side of the site together, bringing the public components of the project next to the main entrance. While offering the inhabitants the maximum amount of south facing rooms, we manage to produce a diverse range of relationships between rooms and the landscape. Some have more public orientations, next to courtyards, while others acquire more private quarters on private terraces. Some rooms are organized on internal streets next to living rooms, giving a social profile to those rooms, while other rooms maintain a more remote profile, away from the daily interaction of social activity. Thus, the idea is to create the possibility for variety and diversity so as to cater to differing profiles and varying needs of the incoming seniors.
Community can be defined by many scales within the proposed project, considering individuals necessity for privacy and individuality, friendship and intimacy, collective group activities, or alternatively a larger identification with the senior community at large. For this reason, the project offers many architectural scales within which its inhabitants can find their place. On the smaller scale, beyond bedrooms, inglenooks in remote places can be found where individuals can relax, read or contemplate nature. Also, the corridors are transformed into internal streets, creating spaces of transition, where people can log in on the internet to write emails, or sit with a friend and have tea, or simply sit and ‘people watch’.