When it comes to homes for the elderly, good and well-considered design has by and large been elusive. Yet, with the world’s population rapidly ageing, architects are now increasingly coming up with innovative ways of ensuring that even in old age, one can still enjoy most if not all of life’s pleasures. In this arena, ThomsonAdsett
, who has been tasked with designing the Beijing Suangqiao Senior Living Resort in China, is leading the charge.
The Australian-based architectural practice knows a thing or two about designing nursing homes, having just claimed 2nd spot in the global elderly living sector in Building Design’s World Architecture 100.
As the most populated country in the world, the challenges of an ageing population are especially real in China. According to the latest projections, China will have more than 450 million citizens over the age of 65 by 2050.
Comprising 360 one- or two-bedroom apartments, and a 60-bed aged care facility, the Beijing Suangqiao Senior Living Resort is set for a 2016 completion date. In an attempt to break out of the boxy interiors that usually characterise elderly homes, the various units within the resort are connected by an internal street. A Chinese restaurant, sports bar and café, games room, library, gymnasium and an arts and craft centre are situated along two sides of the street. At the centre of the nursing home, a sprawling courtyard allows one to enjoy the sun on a good day.
To facilitate easy navigation and thus minimise the burden placed on both the staff and residents, like spaces are grouped together. Special care is taken to separate the aged care area from senior living quarters. Local planning regulations also dictate that all apartments be exposed to two hours of natural light during the summer months.
In the dining area, large round tables encourage community engagement. Meanwhile, the textured brickwork, terracotta wall cladding and glazed tiles come together to create an aesthetic that allude to both contemporary design and traditional Chinese architecture.