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Miller Hanson Partners, The Village at Woodlands

January 1, 2002
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Novi, Michigan - Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Village at Woodlands - Novi, Michigan
Miller Hanson Partners - Minneapolis, Minnesota Type of Facility/Setting: Congregate Care and Assisted Living

Facility Contact: Allyson Boyle

Firm: Miller Hanson Partners, (612) 332-5420

Design Team: Link Wilson, Beth Fults, Architects (Miller Hanson Partners);
Dale Worm, Jeff Knepper, Contractors (Weis Builders); Sari-Ann Olson,
Interior Designer (Rajala Design)

Resident Capacity: 126

Space/Resident (sq. ft.): 752

Total Area (sq. ft.): 94,733

Total Cost (excluding land): $8,182,000

Cost/Sq. Ft.: $86

Completion: November 2001 (occupancy) The Village at Woodlands, designed for a hospital organization with the public out-reach goal of creating healthy senior communities, is a collaboration between health-care professionals and architects. Its location on a hospital campus with existing facilities and neighboring homes provided a strong context for the design of this two-story facility.

Very early, owner and architect held meetings for local residents to discuss the role of senior housing in achieving larger community goals. A primary concern for area residents was project image, and they were assured that The Village would fit gracefully into the neighborhood's land-scape, staying low and residential in character. Ongoing communication with public officials also was crucial. In this the owner played a major role, clarifying early for code officials that The Village was not to be a long-term care facility, but an apartment building with senior focus.

Healthcare staff and design professionals had to address changes in federal regulations for food handling and changes in county rules for kitchen venting. In both cases, the client's dietition helped build the trust of local health officials. The Village is organized into two light-filled atrium spaces: the Assisted Living side of the building and the Congregate side. The atriums are centers of activity and focal points of the main entries. The Assisted Living side contains administration offices and active service components, such as home health/physician services, general store and beauty salon. The Congregate side's central spaces feature the library, activity and craft spaces, laundry facilities and gentlemen's shop.

The campus is a lovely, woodsy environment. Abundant walking paths provide maximum accessibility to this picturesque site for exercise and casual strolling. Units offer excellent views of the surrounding landscape. Pathways create an organic disbursement from the two building "centers" to circulate around the complex and through nature. The low building form was designed to emphasize the horizontal, with punctuations at the entries and metaphoric "center" atriums. Form, material and colors were selected for their calming effects. Windows are a key design element, with offices and lounges all offering outside views. All living units have an exterior focus, with pleasant views from bay windows or decks. Each wing is color coded for easy way-finding. The Assisted Living wing features accessible kitchens and baths. On the Congregate side, kitchens and baths are adaptable to accommodate the changing needs of clients as they age. Clerestories bring an abundance of natural light into the atriums, making these triple-height spaces the social focus during the day. At night the clerestories radiate light to the surrounding site, becoming a beacon for residents and nonresidents alike.
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