Amenta Emma Architects
Boston, MA – Amenta Emma Architects was honored with two awards at the 11th annual IIDA New England Design awards ceremony in Boston on March 14. IIDA New England is a chapter of the International Interior Design Association and holds an annual awards program to recognize the achievements of design firms in the New England area. Amenta Emma’s project, The Burnham Family Memory Care Residence at Avery Heights in Hartford, CT, received the Senior Living and Best In Connecticut awards.
Avery Heights Senior Living Community was faced with the dilemma of dated facilities on its 45-acre campus and no spaces or services to offer an increasing population of residents suffering from dementia. The renovation of a 10,000 sf independent living apartment wing now provides a secure memory care environment for a population previously closed off to opportunity and allowing them to be in an active, engaging living space. The new facility accommodates 20 single apartments in a “small-house” concept, with active areas and quiet zones, a large outdoor living space and a secure garden with walking path.
Designers chose calming and soothing interior finish and color choices. The translucent sliding glass doors of the Relaxation Room are detailed with a custom pussy willow graphic as a symbol of optimism. Artificial and natural lighting controls help to regulate the residents’ circadian rhythms. Bright red umbrellas in the outdoor gathering space, visible from the Great Room, stimulate the senses and draw views outward. To create a sense of freedom, outdoor spaces were created in two zones – one for social gathering, the other for more private relaxation and meditation during walks along the garden path.
It took a creative collaboration of the varied ideas and talents of Architect, Interior Designer, Graphic Designer, Landscape Architect, General Contractor and visionary owner to create a space meant to engage dementia residents in indoor/outdoor activity while honoring their dignity and providing them with opportunities not otherwise available in existing circumstances of assisted living or nursing care facilities. The design leverages practical solutions to make the community safe, while addressing the challenging needs of staff who seek to maximize the daily activity and evening restfulness of their charges with flexible spaces that are utilized fully. Director Bill Englehart says, “Not in a million years could I have imagined such an amazing redesign in a 26-year-old facility. It is a dream come true.”
Other Design/Build team members:
CE Floyd – General Contractor
Didona Associates Landscape Architect – Landscape Architect
Illuminate – Lighting
Robert Benson Photography – Photographer