Re-envisioning its nine-acre campus as
a vibrant hub for the Bay Area senior community, Jewish Home of San Francisco
is expanding its facilities to serve thousands of on-site and off-site
residents with a broad array of programs and services at a single location.
With new assisted living apartments, memory care suites, and a ground-floor
marketplace of amenity and support spaces, the expansion provides opportunities
for seniors, families, and caregivers to connect with their community like
Recognizing that holistic wellness can
only be achieved when seniors’ social and emotional needs are met along with
physical ones, Ankrom Moisan helped Jewish Home translate their
vision into a campus design that promotes life-long learning, engages the
senses, and embraces individuality. These
objectives were translated into three critical design principles carried
throughout the design process: discovery, beauty, and equity.
AMA drew inspiration from the vibrant history of Jewish Home’s existing campus, along with the client’s vision for an engaging, highly-connected social atmosphere. Beginning with early conceptual studies of mass and program, the project team explored ways of instilling a sense of excitement and discovery throughout the building, while also amplifying the existing site’s best features and responding to the neighborhood context.
The design evolved from a concept of three large parks that anchor the facility’s robust amenity offerings, afford views from private units and common areas, and create a sense of welcoming openness for visitors to the campus. The wings of the building frame each of these open spaces with abundant glazing and transparency on the park sides, and façade treatments that respond to the neighborhood on the street sides. The three parks, each with a unique character, link together and tie key common areas to the outdoors through large, glassy connections.
At the heart of the new expansion is The Square, a network of spaces that provide seniors with holistic support related to their health and happiness. Comprising performance venues, fitness facilities, an arts room, a library, and a variety of dining areas, The Square encourages seniors to continue learning, sharing, and engaging with their community. Each space is revealed gradually as occupants circulate through the building, moving between rooms designated for specific activities to more flexible spaces designed to encourage spontaneous interaction. Seeking to create dynamic spaces that provoke discovery and surprise, AMA removed barriers to the outdoors through expansive glazing, allowing activities to spill out onto patios surrounded by nature.
Research has shown that an active social life is
central to our physical and psychological well-being; lowering the risk of
mortality, preventing feelings of loneliness, and maintaining cognitive
performance. Thoughtful designs can help older adults engage with others and
foster new relationships by providing spaces that support a variety of
The building’s response to both the urban
neighborhood and the natural realm of the outdoors reflects an important balance
of engaging interactions and quiet introspection. To complement the
lively socialization within The Square, AMA wanted to provide opportunities for
restoration and solitude by reconnecting occupants to natural rhythms and
sensory experiences at more intimate scales.
Through color, texture, sound, and
light, the project creates experientially-rich spaces adapted to a variety of
emotions and activities. The largest outdoor area achieves
versatility by interspersing private seating areas on meandering paths between
bigger, more active spaces such as the dog run. Deciduous plantings throughout
the park produce ever-changing light patterns, connecting occupants to seasonal
changes. On the opposite side of the café, residents, caregivers, and visitors
can find serenity at Fountain Court, which offers soothing sounds and restoring
scenes of flowing water.
Whether taking an outdoor stroll, looking out over the parks
from a private room, or enjoying a meal in The Square, the
building’s occupants are never far from the beauty of nature’s rhythms and
phenomena. Preventing circulation on the main level from falling
into static patterns, the layout follows a meandering route that introduces
curvilinear elements and highlights outdoor spaces as visual landmarks along
the way. In addition to providing abundant daylighting, high ceilings and large
windows in the private rooms create a grander sense of personal space and
extend the perception of an individual from a single room to the entire campus
design explores the interaction between the built environment and nature’s
systems and processes. New studies show that incorporating natural connections
into the design of buildings has measurable benefits to human health,
particularly for seniors.
While many of us require support from
others as we age, our desire for independence, individuality, and the ability
to contribute does not diminish. Believing that self-expression and
participation in community life should be attainable across all levels of care,
AMA arrived at the concept of equity as a guiding design principle for the
project. From the outdoor areas surrounding the building to the diverse spaces
of The Square and the smaller common areas on resident floors, the team sought
to create a design that adapts to the physical abilities and security needs of
each individual, while also affirming their place in the larger community.
Comprising the project’s most important
amenity and social spaces, the design team wanted to ensure that The Square and
its adjacent outdoor spaces were accessible and accommodating to seniors,
families and care-givers. The park, for example, offers a range
of routes and paving materials for those with limited mobility. A
large, looped path is subdivided by several smaller loops that can be combined
to suit everything from a short meander to more vigorous exercise.
Recent studies have found that maintaining a sense of purpose is an important factor in healthy aging. The ability to derive meaning from day-to-day life and preserve a sense of independence is linked to longevity and stress reduction, and can lessen the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
For seniors at a higher level of care, self-expression and
independence may take form in preparing a meal or choosing what and when to
eat. In the project’s memory care wings, the design team worked with the client
to find creative ways of engaging residents who may not have regular or
unsupervised access to the park and community spaces at the ground floor. To
connect memory care residents to each other and the social process of cooking
and eating, each dining area includes an open, residential-style kitchen. This
kitchen allows residents to hear the sounds of cooking, enjoy pleasurable
smells, and participate in the preparation of their own food.
Spacious roof decks with lush, vegetated canopies are located adjacent to the
dining areas, inviting residents to connect to the outdoors. This homey
environment reflects Jewish Home’s unique approach to memory care staffing and
operations, emphasizing resident control over daily activities and tasks.
The new Jewish Home community broke ground in the fall of 2016 and has an
expected completion date in 2018. For more information and updates on this project visit the Jewish Home
Senior Living Group website.