Narrow facades leave little room for front windows or outdoor gardens or patios, which can be a drawback for a community that is designed to be structured around a warm, sociable living environment.
Why not consider these added elements when designing an active adult community? There are creative ways to maximize space on a given lot, even if it’s small. Here are several tips how:
- Just a slight increase in the width of a lot can make a dramatic difference in the exterior appearance of the home. A wider footprint creates more exterior wall surface, adding “curb appeal” frontage, but more importantly, creating more room for windows. Deep units need more window space to maximize the light coming into the home. A brighter interior and smaller roof mass can create a more aesthetically appealing look from the street and can add to the home's value (see sketch).
- Recess the garage so the living space is moved forward. This adds a side-wall next to the garage that allows for more window space, increasing the light entering the home and reducing the visual impact of the garage from the street.
- Sometimes a harsh streetscape can be softened by pulling the garage to the front of the lot, almost as if it’s completely detached from the home. Then connect the garage to the home with a breezeway or sunroom. This increases the area on the front wall of the home available for windows, again bringing more light into the home and creating more space for an outdoor courtyard. With the garage out in front, the roof on the home is not as tall because it doesn't have to span across to cover the garage. The garage in this configuration almost becomes a freestanding element. Using this same approach, a community can offer some units with a one-car garage, opening up even more outdoor space and added light.
The above examples of land planning design are becoming more and more popular in many densely developed communities in California, where much of today’s innovative architectural concepts are originating.
Reducing the roof mass, creating interesting spaces behind the garage for patios or gardens and increasing the surface area in front of the home to create more space for windows and light can increase the value and appeal of an active adult community. This is an approach to design that is senior-friendly, creating a comfortable living environment and fostering a sense of neighborhood in harmony with what home buyers expect to find in active-adult housing.
Mark Leahy is president of Pinnacle Design & Consulting, a Fairfax, VA-based, full-service architecture firm specializing in residential and commercial design. For more information, he can be reached by e-mail, or call 703-218-3400.
Enter Your Design in Seniors Housing Awards Competition
If you have an innovative design for active adult and seniors communities, enter the 2004 Best of Seniors Housing Design Awards competition. Click here to view the call for entries brochure, or e-mail Eucklan Matthews or call 800-368-5242 x8220.
Learn More About Seniors Housing Through the Seniors Housing Council
To learn more about seniors housing or boomers, join the NAHB Seniors Housing Council. The council provides information, education, networking and recognition opportunities for its members and represents NAHB on seniors housing issues. For more details, e-mail Jeff Jenkins or call him at 800-368-5242 x8292.
BuilderBooks.com Has Publications About Seniors Housing
BuilderBooks.com offers a variety of publications about the seniors housing market. To view or purchase these publications, click here and type “seniors” in the search engine.
2004 Seniors Housing Symposium
To learn more about the seniors housing market, plan to attend the 2004 Seniors Housing Symposium, Building for Boomers & Beyond: It's All About Lifestyle in Chicago from April 14-16, 2004. The symposium will focus on the lifestyle component of 50+ seniors housing.
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