Merlino Design Partnership, Inc., Whispering Knoll

Whispering Knoll – Edison, New Jersey
Merlino Design Partnership, Inc. – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Type of Facility/Setting: Assisted Living

Facility Contact: Gary Santo, Executive Director

Firm: Merlino Design Partnership, Inc., (215) 829-9810

Design Team: Samuel Merlino, Principal-in-Charge; Bruce Hurowitz, Partner-in-Charge; J.D. Landis, Senior Designer

Photography: Barry Halkin

Resident Capacity: 126 (incl. 20 Special Needs)

Space/Resident (sq. ft.): 369 to 533

Total Area (sq. ft.): 96,000

Total Cost (excluding land): $12 million

Cost/Sq. Ft.: $125

Completion: March 2001

This project for the well-established JFK/Solaris Health System entailed a three-story Assisted Living Residence on the grounds of their Edison, New Jersey, campus. The completed facility includes a 126-bed Assisted Living Residence, including a Special Needs unit.

The building is joined together vertically with a central “Grand Lobby Atrium,” designed as a gracious foyer complete with grand staircase and column-surrounded plaza. Opening to this plaza is the Bistro, offering relaxed casual dining, while the adjacent Formal Dining Room is where residents can go for a fine dining experience. This room includes a fireplace, beautifully appointed architectural woodwork, specialty lighting and fine furnishings. Many of the other public spaces are adjacent to this atrium-namely, Lounges, Arts Center, Library and Wellness Center.

On each floor of the building, three distinct assisted living “neighborhoods” of 30 to 40 units each were created to provide a more residential scale. Each neighborhood includes an open Living Room that many of the apartments open on to, as well as some kind of enclosed program space (i.e., Cinema, Social Lounge, Card Room) and a private “Bathique” Spa. The appointments, detailing and scale of these neighborhoods offer the residents a unique living experience.

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