Conceived as a prototype to eliminate many of the barriers keeping seniors from moving into Life Plan Communities, Danberry at Inverness was designed to provide services and amenities typically found in high-end communities, but at a modest cost.
CJMW Architecture worked with the project owner to develop a new model of community – one that would be affordable for seniors, yet have a high level of design and amenities. The result is a comfortable yet affordable community with a holistic approach to wellness and person-centered healthcare.
The site posed some unique design challenges. A road separated the lower half of the 36-acre site, where zoning would permit only cottages, from the upper half, where the main building would have to be located. What was initially seen as a potential disadvantage was transformed into an advantage by adding a small lake-front clubhouse to serve as a community center for the cottage neighborhood. These changes made the community especially attractive to younger, more active seniors.
The entire site was steeply sloped and rock was close to the surface. The design team fit the main building to the site’s contours to minimize rock removal – a major cost savings that meant more funds could be allocated to finishes and furnishing. Existing conditions were manipulated to develop amenities such as ponds, waterfalls, and trails. The resulting level changes provide easy outdoor access at multiple locations.
The project goals were ambitious compared with the construction budget. The design team met this challenge by making spaces multi-functional and by carefully avoiding construction costs that would not provide a clear benefit to the residents. The clubhouse is about half the size of what is found in many new CCRC’s, yet it includes a 160-seat dining room, 200-seat auditorium, café/bar, and wellness center with exercise pool and fitness room as well as other amenities.
Echoing the Tudor revival style of the 1920’s abundantly represented in Birmingham’s older suburbs, the main campus of the community now encompasses 160 independent living apartments, 72 assisted-living apartments and a 25,000-square-foot clubhouse.
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Square footage: 413,062
Services: master planning, architecture, interior design, ffe