Retirement resonates

Serene surfaces inspired by nature

LAST FALL, MORE than 350 resident seniors, their families, community members and dignitaries celebrated the official Grand Opening a new retirement community in Ajax, Ont. Westney Gardens was the brainchild of Revera, an owner, operator and investor in the senior-living sector, who invested $50 million to bring the modern, environmentally friendly, 132-suite retirement residence to the area.

The community is the 76th retirement residence in Ontario built by the Mississauga, Ont.-based Revera. According to Mike Brcko, vice president, Property Development, “there was about three years of design and construction was about two years. We want to make sure that we are designing a feature- focused product that will facilitate people to age in place in a friendly manner.”

Revera has around 350 staff in areas that relate to seniors’ housing specifically and also has teams that focus on details such as culinary and recreation so that residents get the most from their environment.

Pub area

Assisting with the interior design of Westney Gardens was Andrea van der King, principal interior designer at van der King Design Group in Toronto, Ont. One of her guiding principles is biophilic design, or the process of bringing in natural materials such as wood and plants into the design environment.

“In terms of the aesthetics of the biophilic design,” says van der King, “the dining room is designed to look like pebbles. The corridors look like a gradation of a pebbly path. In the lower level in the lounge area, it looks like a combination of stone and grass.

Reception under construction

These are all materials that were inspired by the natural elements. “We also used porcelain tile, wood look porcelain tile, and a cork-backed product that has a wood look surface. So, thinking about how these cushioned materials are better for seniors and how the transitions meet up. You don’t want to have anything that causes any kind of trip hazard or any kind of barrier for seniors.”

Amenities at the residence include a fitness centre, a creative arts studio, a theatre and even a golf simulator. Wearable technology allows a resident to instantly request assistance anytime, and from anywhere in the building, and eliminates the need to carry suite keys.

Recreation room

The residence also targeted LEED Silver certification through water conservation and energy efficiency, something that van der King was able to complement in her material choices. These included recycled material, VOC-free, 36-ounce minimum carpet tiles for interface carpeting.

Brcko notes the high-occupancy rate at Westney Gardens is a tribute to the planning of the residence and van der King feels the retirement — and local — community has embraced it. “You want to feel that it is appropriate to that community and it feels relevant so people can connect with it.”

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