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NewBridge on the Charles

June 1, 2010
by Maureen Hrehocik, Editor
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1 million-sq.-ft. facility provides sense of community

Occupancy of the apartments began in June 2009. Residents began moving into the assisted living quarters in August of that year. The community also has dining rooms, restaurants (one with a display cooking area), a village center, fitness center, library, and a multipurpose room. The library is situated at the front of the main building. Siefering says this was done on purpose as acknowledgement of the importance of intellectual pursuits to the clientele who live there.

Physical, psychological wellness

Key elements in the mind, body, spirit emphasis were nature, daylight, and community. “At NewBridge, there is a big emphasis on wellness; in fact, Hebrew SeniorLife has a research component working on the impact of physical exercise, specifically weight training, on people in their 80s. They're learning a lot,” Siefering says.

Another aspect Siefering is most proud of is how the design was able to maintain mature vegetation next to the buildings. The glass gives great views, and the feeling of being outside is carried through the interior with cedar, slate, and bluestone. Glass abounds in large amounts so natural light pours in through the floor-to-ceiling windows in some areas. But that created another challenge of using glass but minimizing solar gain and glare with large overhangs. “Nature became a meaningful theme. While we realize everyone doesn't wear Birkenstocks, most everyone would appreciate a great view from inside the building.”

There is a Yiddish word, “haimish,” which means homey and unpretentious. Siefering said haimish became the guiding principle for NewBridge. “NewBridge has a very intellectual clientele-retired faculty from Harvard and MIT, women in their 80s with PhDs, physicians, authors, and scientists. We wanted it to be elegant but informal.”

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Long-Term Living 2010 June;59(6):28-33