DESIGN 2011 Merit Winner: Penick Village Garden Cottage, Southern Pines, North Carolina
Alan Moore, AIA, Principal • CJMW
Congratulations to all Citation of Merit winners!
It was a long process. Alan Moore emphasizes this again and again when describing the project origins of Penick Village Garden Cottage. With a resident capacity of only 10, and a square footage of just 7,000, this single-family type of residence, run as an assisted living facility, does not immediately inspire images of prolonged design.
But Moore assures, don’t let the project’s size fool you. Those details are deceptive. “Every aspect of design was measured by a simple question: ‘Would you have this in your home?’” Moore says. “Nurse call systems, med carts—we weren’t having any of those.”
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“As much as we complain about the state regulatory authorities,” Moore says, “in this case I really couldn’t have asked for them to have done more. They saw this as an opportunity to adapt to the changes that are taking place in long-term care.” The regulatory body met with both Penick Village and CJMW during design development to come up with acceptable equivalency measures—a technical term in building code language that meant coming up with design solutions that they felt provided the safety that they expected but without all the institutional features of a typical nursing home,” Moore explains. A good example is the open dining area, directly connected to corridors and bedrooms. Because the structure has a high ceiling, the regulator deemed that if a fire were to occur, smoke would rise within that space and allow residents sufficient time to evacuate. This allowed the designers to abstain from installing fire shutters and doors “that would have given the place an institutional feel,” he says.
Though the Garden Cottage itself is small in size, Moore says its completion helps in combating the “enormous” regulatory challenges that plague good design every day. “Winning the battle of the codes is going to be a long process,” he says. But much like good design, he knows that investment in time comes with the job.
Kevin Kolus wrote for I Advance Senior Care / Long-Term Living when he was an editor. He left the brand in 2012. He is now senior communications manager at Cleveland Clinic.