Amenta Emma Architects won the 2020 IIDA New England Senior Living Award for the firm’s design of the Southington Care Center second floor outdoor patio garden, garden room and nurses’ station. The award was announced September 16, 2020, at the IIDA New England Chapter’s virtual award presentation live from Boston. The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) is the leading interior design professional organization.

“There are some beautiful details here including the integrated handrail with lighting and the shaded garden courtyard,” said the IIDA presenter during the award ceremony, relaying the judges’ opinions. “This is a clever project to re-think a reception area that is a central hub for residents.”

Amenta Emma’s senior living team, led by Principal Myles Brown, was tasked with reimagining the institutional feel of the center of the second floor of Southington Care Center, which is home to 65 residents living with varied stages of dementia. “One challenge was to bring natural light and views into the reception area, which has no windows,” says Brown. “By opening up walls and creating an axial connection to the outdoor space, we were able to pull light from the courtyard, through the common room, and into the reception.”

“Myles and his team had a clear understanding of the needs of our residents,” says William Kowalewski, Executive Director of Southington Care Center. “We believe in resident-centered care and seek to create an environment that feels like home as each resident defines it. Since homes do not typically have nurses’ stations, but nurses needed to be able to observe our residents, Amenta Emma created a wooden screen that subtly incorporates the Hartford Healthcare logo as cutouts to provide lines of sight for nurses. It was such a creative solution.”

The renovation was completed just before the COVID-19 pandemic put senior living communities on lockdown for months. The newly renovated courtyard with shade and vegetable and flower gardens at wheelchair height was the residents’ only access to the outdoors for months. The courtyard overlooks a parking area, where family members and friends could come to wave and speak to their loved ones. “The timing was a bit of a miracle,” says Kowalewski. “It made a big difference for many of our residents during the heart of the pandemic.”

The project was made possible by Main Street Community Foundation, which awarded a $150,000 grant from the Bradley Henry Barnes & Leila Upson Barnes Memorial Trust.

More information
Complete results of the 2020 IIDA NE Design Awards
Project photos and description

About Amenta Emma Architects
Design matters. This is the principle that guides all relationships between Amenta Emma Architects and the firm’s clients. With offices in Hartford, Boston, and New York, Amenta Emma is an architecture and interior design firm focused on the academic, mixed-use, multi-family, retail, senior living and workplace markets. Founded in 1985, Amenta Emma has achieved an award-winning design reputation and is known for technical strength. The firm has an extensive portfolio of work throughout the Northeast and across the United States.

About Southington Care Center
Southington Care Center, a not for profit member of Hartford HealthCare Senior Services, offers skilled nursing, rehabilitation services and palliative care at 45 Meriden Ave.

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