Category Archives: Senior Living

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Adaptive Reuse: How Preserving Buildings of the Past Helps Preserve the Future

Historic preservation is itself, a practice of sustainability that benefits communities and our environment. The demolition of a building uses a lot of energy and releases large amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Additional energy is expelled during construction of a replacement facility.

On the flipside, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2016 report “The Greenest Building,” saving a historic building for adaptive reuse “almost always yields far fewer environmental impacts than new construction when comparing buildings of similar size and functionality.”

We can see sustainable adaptive reuse in action in the renovation of the historic Circleville High School in Circleville, Ohio. Built in 1916, the high school eventually become the Everts Hill Middle School. When Everts Hill Middle School relocated to a new facility in 2016, the century-old school sat empty and was almost torn down.

Photography by Todd Williams
The front exterior of the historic Circleville High School.
Photography by Todd Williams 
The historic high school was rehabilitated into Everts Hill affordable senior living apartments. The new complex is fully ADA accessible.
Photography by Todd Williams 
Detail above the front entrance.
Photography by Todd Williams  
The historic Circleville High School was built in 1916 and would continue to serve students for the next 100 years.
Photography by Todd Williams
The historic auditorium retains the original proscenium arch and now serves as the gathering area for families and parties.
Photography by Todd Williams
The exterior of the restored historic greenhouse original to the property.
Photography by Todd Williams
The interior of the restored historic greenhouse, original to the property.
Photography by Todd Williams
A view down one of the corridors. The original built-in lockers now function as tenant storage. The terrazzo flooring is also original to the corridors.
Photography by Todd Williams
Historic built-ins that were coat/backpack racks and teacher supply storage are now used for tenant storage.
Photography by Todd Williams
View inside a unit living space. Each unit is designed with open living spaces facing the historic windows, which provides ample natural light. The original slate boards were retained in each unit adding to the historic charm of the unit.
Photography by Todd Williams
View inside a unit living space. Each unit is designed with open living spaces facing the historic windows, which provides ample natural light. Plumbing for the kitchens and bathrooms are configured along the corridor wall.
Photography by Todd Williams
View inside a unit living space. Each unit is designed with open living spaces facing the historic windows, which provides ample natural light. Plumbing for the kitchens and bathrooms are configured along the corridor wall.
Photography by Todd Williams
Plumbing for the kitchens and bathrooms are configured along the corridor wall.
Photography by Todd Williams
View inside a unit bedroom.

The City of Circleville had a demolition contract for the property in place when our historic architecture team put them in contact with the developer, Woda Cooper Companies. Perspectus Historic Architecture, Chambers, Murphy & Burge Studio and Woda Cooper Companies worked together with the city to save the historic high school and rehabilitate it into an affordable senior living community by creative use of the land and existing facilities. The property is now known as Everts Hill Apartments.

“We’re able to place tenants into a building that was about to be torn down, that’s pretty amazing,” says Principal Elizabeth Corbin Murphy, FAIA, Perspectus Historic Architecture, Chambers, Murphy & Burge Studio. “That’s a victory for the city as well as for the developers.” Murphy also stresses that by saving the building from demolition, we have a measurably reduced carbon footprint.

Meeting Green Standards

The project was primarily funded by the developer’s private funding and through federal and state historic preservation tax credits. One of the chief funding sources comes from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, which will reward restoration housing projects that meet the sustainability standards outlined by the Enterprise Green Community program. The Enterprise Green Community program aligns “affordable housing project investment strategies with environmentally responsive building practices.” To qualify, the sustainable restoration must meet a certain number of points in a required and optional set of standards for certification.

Perspectus Historic Architecture, Chambers, Murphy & Burge Studio and Woda Cooper Companies worked closely to ensure the design of the new Everts Hill senior living community met all Enterprise Green Community certification requirements, even going above and beyond in certain areas, as a sustainable building. Some of the measures taken to meet green living standards include recycling above the required amount of post-industrial waste, using materials that are manufactured and transported from within 500 miles to reduce CO2 emissions associated with transportation, using low VOC materials, as well as efficient heating and cooling systems.

Everts Hill must additionally meet requirements that holistically benefit the health of the tenant through implementing universal design in which the design decision was made to make the building accessible and visitable, a completely non-smoking environment, connected to the community, and available to open space. Residents have access to half the original football field for outdoor leisure and the restoration preserved the historic configuration of the site.

Ultimately, earning Enterprise Green Community certification means the building will cost less to operate and maintain, use fewer resources and contain fewer toxic materials.

Cultural Sustainability

Historic restoration projects also achieve sustainability from a cultural perspective. The buildings are given a new use while the design must respect its past and its emotional ties with community members. The new Everts Hill complex is tied to the community, especially among the older community because they remember going to school there.

Many of the building’s unique features were restored and creatively incorporated to serve the building’s new function while also created to be distinctly reminiscent of the building’s original purpose.  Murphy explains that for a restoration architect, “the biggest challenge in these types of projects is that you want to save everything, and you want to restore everything. But you must remember that people are the clients, not the buildings. And that to make affordable housing, we have to be careful not to go overboard.”

The goal of the design was to maintain the charm of the historic high school, says Dalton Kline, Interior Designer, Perspectus Historic Architecture, Chambers, Murphy & Burge Studio. “We have design stylistically compatible apartments in this historic building.”

Old classrooms are now apartment units, complete with the original slate boards. New unit entry doors were reconstructed to resemble the classroom’s original doors. Plumbing and other apartment amenities were configured along the corridor wall with the living space along the windows, which were restored to their original size allowing for more natural light in the units.

The building features the original corridors and flooring. The historic auditorium retains the original proscenium arch and is now home to the complex’s gathering area for families and parties. At the rear of the historic high school, the original greenhouse that was converted to a fieldhouse has been reborn as a greenhouse for tenants. Also remaining are the corridors built-in lockers that currently serve as tenant storage.

Previously hidden by drop ceilings, contractors discovered the original skylights, that once again provide another source of natural light.

The existing cafeteria is reimagined as a café open to the public. Creating this space increases the quality of life and provides a community connection between the senior residents and the public.

When asked how the Everts Hill was received by the Circleville community, Murphy explained that during the construction phase of these historic adaptive reuse projects, people tend to be unsure since they’ve grown used to the building as part of the city’s landscape. “But once it opens and has a little life pumped back into it, everyone is thrilled.”

Historic preservation provides sustainability for our environment and our communities. Projects like Everts Hill Apartments at the historic Circleville High School demonstrate that preserving the past can go a long way towards preserving the future.

Senior Living Architect Eileen Nacht joins Perspectus Architecture

Perspectus Architecture is pleased to announce that Eileen Nacht, AIA, LEED AP, EDAC, one of the region’s leading senior living architects, has joined the full-service architectural firm as Senior Project Director.

Senior Project Director Eileen Nacht

With more than 25 years of experience, Eileen is a seasoned architectural professional who manages concept, design, budgeting and development for multi-million dollar clients. Her portfolio includes complex, multifaceted projects specific to senior living, encompassing the full continuum of care, including master planning for new construction and renovation of existing communities. Eileen has worked with senior living communities in Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida as well as several VA Medical Center Community Living Centers.

Supervising projects from concept design through post occupancy, Eileen is committed to expanding Perspectus’ capabilities and applying an evidence-based process to the design and development of healing environments for senior living and healthcare.

“We continually strive to attract the best talent, and Eileen excels in leading architectural and engineering project teams,” said Jim Wallis, AIA, IIDA, NCARB, Principal of Perspectus Architecture. “We’re thrilled to have her on board to elevate our programming process for all project types, especially those focused on person-centered care.”

A resident of Pepper Pike, Ohio, Eileen earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from University of Cincinnati and is a registered architect in the State of Ohio. A member of AIA, Eileen is a LEED Accredited Professional and holds Evidence Based Design Accreditation Certification (EDAC).

Opening of CDC at Eliza Bryant Village

Over the past few years, Perspectus has enjoyed a successful partnership providing architectural and interior design services for Centers for Dialysis Care, an independent provider of dialysis and related health services to individuals with kidney failure. It’s the largest outpatient dialysis provider in Northeast Ohio with 18 locations.

CDC’s newest facility is on the campus of Eliza Bryant Village in Cleveland. Founded in 1896, Eliza Bryant is the oldest operating African American long-term care facility in the country. A ribbon cutting ceremony took place on April 29 for the one-story, 10,462 sf building.

{CLICK HERE to read the Properties Magazine feature story about the project in the May 2015 issue.}

CDC at Eliza Bryant Village Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Perspectus Project Director David Thompson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C said, “The design intent was to create an environment that instills confidence in patients and family members walking through the front door and supports the CDC’s message of quality care.”

Interior Designer Jennifer Gibson, IIDA, NCIDQ, LEED AP ID+C added, “When we first began working with CDC, they were interested in refreshing some of their existing facilities as well as building new ones. So we developed a whole new palette of materials that was in sync with their re-branding efforts. We work hard to make each facility recognizable as Centers for Dialysis Care but they’re not all the same.”

In addition to the Eliza Bryant Village project, Perspectus has completed renovations to a number of CDC’s outpatient hemodialysis units as well as its corporate office in Shaker Heights. The projects have upgraded patient experience, improved caregiver workflow / workstation configurations and developed a recognizable brand that conveys the CDC mission.

 

 

Brookdale Senior Living’s Westlake Village Renovation

brookdale_westlake3Perspectus was selected to create a new 32-bed Memory Care Facility for Westlake Village. Located on a tight site with views in all directions, this facility is the prototype for the owner/operator.

The concept features resident rooms surrounding a core of large open activity, dining and living rooms and wide corridors that define clear circulation paths and good sight lines.

brookdale_westlake4At the heart of the building is a Country Kitchen that serves as an informal gathering area for residents and staff.

Natural light is brought into the interior through an outdoor courtyard and clerestory windows.

The resident rooms are designed to allow maximum visibility for staff to see residents by shifting the resident toilet rooms to the rear of the unit.