Oudens & Knoop Architects, PC, Grand Oaks

Grand Oaks – Washington, DC
Oudens & Knoop Architects, PC – Chevy Chase, Maryland
Type of Facility/Setting: Assisted Living

Facility Contact: Heidi Brown, Executive Director

Firm: Oudens & Knoop Architects, PC, (301) 718-0080

Design Team: Design Innerphase, Interior Design; Van Yahres Associates, Landscape Design; Hankins & Anderson, Mechanical, Electrical and Civil Engineers; SK&A Consulting Engineers, Structural Engineers; OWP&P, Programming Consultant

Photography: Alan Karchmer, Architectural Photographer

Resident Capacity: 104 units

Space/Resident (sq. ft.): 990

Total Area (sq. ft.): 122,645

Total Cost (excluding land): $17,618,000 (construction)

Cost/Sq. Ft.: $144

Completion: September 2000

Many of the residents of Grand Oaks, located in upper northwest Washington, DC, are from the immediate neighborhood and have shared a commitment to family, personal accomplishment and public service. Located on the campus of Sibley Memorial Hospital, it completes a continuum of care that includes senior and community services and ambulatory, skilled and acute care.

Its architecture seeks consistency with the Federal style of its residential neighbors and with the lifestyle of its residents. The design provides for privacy, personal autonomy and opportunities for activity and socialization.

The 104, primarily one-bedroom, apartments are planned in three-story clusters around the building perimeter and in a four-story section at the interior of the site, away from neighboring single-family residences. Multiple apartment plan choices are offered, and 14 studios are paired with one-bedroom units to permit easy conversion to two-bedroom units.

The apartments are arranged in 5- to 7-unit “households,” each with its own small lounge area, around “neighborhood” activities and central “community” dining, social, activities and resident service areas. Offset hallways, interspersed with solaria, porches and reading areas, reduce apparent corridor length and provide directional cues and varying levels of spatial and social experiences.

The cluster plan, with its variations in building footprint, defines garden areas and creates sheltered patios and terraces, making best use of the limited site area. These spaces are planned as “outdoor rooms” and are linked by strolling paths. Rest areas in a variety of garden settings encourage contemplative pause or social interaction.

Cluster planning also provides two exposures for most apartments, permitting cross-ventilation and extended and rhythmic patterns of natural light, important attributes of single-family residences.
The design takes advantage of a 25-foot drop in grade by providing direct outside access to gardens, patios and terraces from three of the building’s four floors. The drop in grade also facilitates connection by tunnel to both the skilled care facility and the hospital.

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