Gifford Opens Next Stage at Morgan Orchards

Communities / Aug. 10, 2017 11:33am EDT

Gifford’s new Independent Living facility at Morgan Orchards, the Senior Living Community in Randolph Center will open next Tuesday, Aug. 15, according to a release from the hospital.

“We took a 70,000 square foot building and broke it up into communal areas surrounded by separate ‘neighborhoods’ on either side,” said David Roy of Weimann Lamphere Architects. “Having distinct communities within the larger community was important to us. We wanted this to feel like a neighborhood, not a hotel.”

A central challenge for the architects was to bring the scale of the project down closer to that of the surrounding neighborhood. To counter the big-box footprint of the building a dormered third floor roofline breaks up the height. Varying window sizes and siding styles convey the sense of individual “homes,” Roy asserted.

The apartments are set up in”neighborhoods” and the windows allow a variety of views.

“In a family home there’s a real line between what is private and what is public as you stand at the street edge,” said Davis. “In this building, we used color and varying window sizes to create this distinction externally. You can stand on the street and immediately identify the communal areas—they all are painted a dark forest green and have large glass openings that allow for a stronger connection to the landscape, rather than the smaller more private-feeling residential windows that occur within the individual units.”

Early on the architects and Gifford team discussions centered on a European concept of housing design for seniors, which Davis says is different from the most common current approach in the states.

“The European model pays respect to the generation that’s come before you by offering seniors homes on a beautiful site—not tucked away where they can’t be engaged in the community,” she said. “This site has great opportunities for gardening; hiking, biking, and snowshoeing trails; as well as proximity to I-89 and Vermont Technical College. The entire team made a huge effort to really create common shared spaces that not only occur within the building but also extend out into the landscape. We designed the building to have variety, human scale, to capture the amazing views, and to create a real connection to the beautiful landscape.”

Roy notes that sustainability was an important consideration throughout the process. The building envelope, HVAC, and electrical systems are highly efficient; and natural daylighting and access to views are used whenever possible. The architects, Gifford, and Vermont Tech students have worked together to explore future perma¬≠culture landscaping designs that will encourage resident’s daily engagement with nature.

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