Retirement Living

Creating an Uplifting, Warm, Environment for Seniors

Sustainable Mass Timber Retirement Living Building Solution

Multiple polls show that 93% of those over 55 will do anything to stay in their own homes rather than move to a typical retirement facility. Two of the most common fears are loneliness and decision-making autonomy, which cause many people to lose their sense of purpose in life.

What if you could bring a new typology to senior living that removes the negative stereotypes associated with typical retirement homes? A typology that creates an uplifting environment, where a shared community and inspiring architecture enrich the residents’ physical and cognitive abilities. That’s what we’ve come up with the concept of “Treehouse”.

Treehouse – a New Paradign in Senior Living to Enhance Well-Being

Element5 in conjunction with Farrow Partners have developed a new approach to senior living called “Treehouse”. Treehouse is a concept that takes full advantage of mass timber’s sustainable and biophilic properties and then intertwines those benefits with design principles grounded in neuroscience. It rethinks senior-living environments as places for engagement and social connectivity through incremental interventions and adaptations to space.

Cross-laminated timber’s (CLT) prefab modularity is well-suited for shaping mid-rise dwellings, specifically due to its lower overall cost to construction, speed of construction, and higher ROI. Treehouse’s design is also customizable to respond to particular site conditions. Additionally, due to its reduced construction noise and debris, mass timber’s on-site assembly is far less disruptive to a neighbourhood than steel and concrete.

Building Features

Healing benefits of wood

Beyond its sustainable virtues, wood has physiological and therapeutic benefits. Its aromatic and tactile qualities have proven to relax tense muscles and slow-down heart rates. Exposed wood also absorbs airborne sound, dulling the sharper vibrations encountered with steel and glass. Science has also confirmed that when natural materials are visible and surround older adults, they become more accepting of life’s transitions.

Connected to nature

Treehouse gets its name from its double-height common area located multiple floors above and featuring generously sized windows that face onto a surrounding tree canopy. The vantage point provides a naturally therapeutic, vitamin-enriching connectivity with the changing seasons and weather patterns.

Community integration

Ground-level suites could be designed as townhouses for families, creating a seamlessly embedded multi-generational community within the building. Not only does this model de-stigmatize retirement housing, it also encourages residents to support one another. Younger adults, for instance, could receive child-rearing help from elders, while elders benefit from the variety and spontaneity of younger people.

Architectural Renderings by Farrow Partners