Getting old isn’t easy. You get aches, you get pains, and sometimes you need help in your daily routine, which means having an optimal living environment that provides a broad continuum of support and healthcare services and staff. But the true key to prolonging life also includes an emotional and spiritual commitment to staying young at heart, and that is exactly what Perkins Eastman Architects was tasked with when designing NewBridge on the Charles, a long-term, assisted living facility in Dedham, Mass.
NewBridge on the Charles presents its current 750 residents with a 1-million-sq.-ft. home that offers a variety of living and care settings for more than 800 potential residents, with 51 traditional assisted living apartments, 40 memory support/assisted living units, 268 long-term care residences, and 256 independent living units. The premises features an aesthetically pleasing design that offers a bright, vital interior with natural colors and patterns drawn from the surrounding landscape of lush Northeastern forests. Large viewing windows throughout the buildings aim to infuse this surrounding natural beauty into the interior visual elements.
“The design team planned the campus to preserve and take advantage of as much of the natural landscape as possible and utilized the mature trees as a way to break up the campus into smaller scaled elements with individual entrances for each building component,” says Martin Siefering, AIA, principal in charge at Perkins Eastman.
Additionally, sustainable elements add to the naturalistic and healing properties of the space. “The site design protects environmentally sensitive areas, controls storm water, maintains native landscape materials, and integrates the Northeast’s largest geothermal system to serve more than 1 million sq. ft. of enclosed conditioned space,” says Siefering. Material and finishes feature recycled assets in a focus to improve indoor air quality and the overall reduction of CO2 emissions, while building automation and geothermal systems monitor energy consumption and reallocated heat to organically regulate temperatures throughout the campus.
To perpetuate and bring the extensive use of natural materials to heart, Perkins Eastman opted for a “Haimish” design aesthetic. The Yiddish term refers to those qualities that represent a home-like atmosphere, one that feels “domestic,” “intimate,” “honest,” “comfortable,” and “informal.” Rich colors, such as brilliant reds and leafy greens, contrast subtly off the varying shades of wood and warm-colored tile used to accentuate the floors and walls of the main rooms, including the reception area, bistro dining area, and common Village Center.
More than 750 pieces of art were brought into the campus spaces, most of which highlight local artistry and sculptures, as well as large-scale installations. Besides adding a more homey feel to the living quarters, the focus on artwork serves to exemplify the Artist-in-Residence Program, NewBridge’s own art curriculum that is a core of the community’s extra-curricular programs. The site features a naturally lit studio space, as well as community art tours. NewBridge hopes to one day publish a book on the collections of art at the facility.
But the unique feature to NewBridge, which serves to really set this long-term care facility apart from other long-term residences, is the addition of the 450-child, K-8 Rashi School that adjoins the facility. The educational building—along with supporting dining options, open to visitors and school-related guests, and a courtyard garden—serves to promote communication and interaction between the varying generations on the campus.
“Based on the belief that these ideals can have positive impacts, a Community Center was created to encourage and support interaction between residents, staff, and visitors of all ages. Accommodations were made to encourage access by parents and children from the Rashi School [located on the campus along with ancillary fields for games and activities] throughout the day,” says Siefering.
“Here, seniors have abundant choices in living environments, meaningful activities, dining venues, and supportive and medical services,” he says. “Isolation can be combated via a strong community, and children can bring vitality to everyday life.” And that’s enough to keep anyone, especially those residents at NewBridge, young at heart.
Name of project:
NewBridge on the Charles
Dedham, MA 02026
Date project completed:
Date project came into use:
Cost of project on completion:
Personal responsible for project:
: J. David Hoglund
Person responsible for project:
Matt Grosshandler, Suffolk Construction
Person responsible for project:
Lawrence Chan, Chan Krieger & Associates
Other key organizations associated with the project:
Richard D. Kimball Company, Inc.
ART Engineering Corp
Food Facilities Concepts, Inc.
Deborah A. Ryan & Associates
The Lighting Practice
James P. Goldman, AIA
Paul J. Moriarty & Associates
Leggat McCall Properties LLC
Commercial Consulting Group
Chris Cooper Photography