Design Center

The Cedars at the Jewish
Center for the Aged


Type of Facility/Setting: Continuing Care Retirement Community
Owner: Jewish Center for the Aged
Chief Administrator: Randy Delkus, Chief Executive Officer, (314) 434-3330
Architecture: ACI/Boland, (314) 991-9993
Interior Design: Suttle Mindlin, (314) 961-0102
Photography: Alise O’Brien Photography; Debbie Franke Photography
Resident Capacity: 230 skilled care beds (including special care),
46 assisted living units
Total Project Area: 265,000 sq. ft.
Construction Costs (excluding land): $43,500,000
Cost/Sq. Ft.: $164

Debbie Franke Photography

Reaching out in many ways


The concept of retirement in the Jewish community is no more homogeneous than it would be for any other religious or ethnic group. Different tastes, different socioeconomic levels, different concepts of “supportive environment” would all have to be taken into account when designing one facility/community to accommodate this group. At least that was the thinking behind the interior design of The Cedars, a replacement CCRC combining 230 skilled care beds, a special needs unit, and 46 residential care assisted living units. The community offers no fewer than 12 distinct settings representing natural environments throughout the world, evoking such localities as The Harbor, The Tropics, The Mediterranean, The Courtyard Garden, The European Garden, and The Oriental Gar-den. Each area is set up as a household, with its own living, activities, and dining areas.
Debbie Franke Photography
“It’s true that conceiving 12 designs was a challenge,” says Michael Mindlin, principal of Suttle Mindlin. “Even more challenging,” he quips, “was getting as many as 12 designs approved.”

One unifying theme, however, was the concept of making the community both welcoming and dignified. The Reception Building is furnished in the grand tradition of a resort hotel, complete with art, grand piano, art gallery, fine restaurant, synagogue, and comfortable, elegant seating to convey a feeling of “some-thing more” than retirement living.

Residents are provided with relaxing, homelike sitting areas in spaces located closer to their living quarters. Residences are grouped into neighborhoods, each individually themed and designed as mentioned, and each with its own living room and social area.

Connecting the various residential areas of the community are underground tunnels-reminiscent of the service tunnels of Disney World-an innovation conceived by ACI/Boland, the principal architectural firm. ACI/Boland designed most of the buildings and campus, taking eight years to get the necessary zoning and approvals, and worked with Suttle Mindlin, who designed the interiors, public spaces, and entries, including the main porte cochere, to create a diverse but coherent look for the community.

“There was a strategy here,” says Mindlin, “to provide a new level of hospitality and still meet all healthcare requirements, while providing an inspiring and engaging environment for those who would call The Cedars ‘home.'”

Alise O’Brien Photography Alise O’Brien Photography
Alise O’Brien Photography

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