Monday, February 11 2013

How Green Is My Valley: Senior-Friendly Living in NoHo

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Chard, onions, and lettuce are all growing in the Valley, thanks to the commitment of Clifford Beers Housing and PATH to provide affordable senior housing that is both sustainable and sensitive to the needs of residents.

KFA designed the LEED Platinum project, which opened in late November. NoHo Senior Villas is comfortable, familiar, resident-friendly, and was designed to promote engagement and activity among the mixed low-income and special-needs senior population.

From the street the project is invitingly residential, with step backs, intimate balconies, a warm color scheme, and an enveloping landscape, including a decades old magnolia which was preserved on the site.

The project has three major common areas, all of which are highly visible and accessible to promote resident interaction: the light-filled community room adjacent to the entry and courtyard; a large landscaped roof deck, directly accessible from the windowed laundry room and with views of the surrounding mountains; and the wheel-chair accessible community garden, also on the roof and adjacent to the elevator lobby.

The elevator tower is visible throughout building to help with way-finding. Each floor of the project has a different color scheme to help with orientation, and to also break the 49-unit building into smaller, more easily identifiable pieces – neighborhoods within the building. Corridors are short, with numerous orientating views open to the outdoors that also provide ample ventilation.

The efficient units include a number of features that promote familiarity and interaction. A lighted shelf outside each unit door allows for personal expression to the outside world. Built-in open shelves in the living areas serve to display life’s memorabilia. A dedicated location for a kitchen table and chairs encourages a casual cup of coffee with a neighbor.