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5 memory care communities with a strong sense of mission

Communities in California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, and Virginia display excellence in memory care facility development, design, and construction.

May 05, 2020 |
Lobby of Arbor Terrace at Fulton (Md.), designed by BCT Architects

Lobby of the 86-unit assisted living/memory care community Arbor Terrace at Fulton (Md.), designed by BCT Architects. Photo: Green Sofa Productions

According to the American Association of Retired Persons, "memory care is a form of senior living that provides intensive, specialized care for people with memory issues." Memory care faciltiies are often combined with assisted living communities. Here are five recent projects that define some of the best in memory care communities in the U.S.




BRINKMANN CONSTRUCTORS BUILT this six-story, 150,000-sf structure over a parking garage. The 106 assisted living apartments and 24 memory care units are detailed with crisp colors, modern finishes, and natural wood elements to create a contemporary yet warm environment that has become increasingly popular among the boomer set.

Memory care residents, whose units are on the first floor, have a dedicated community space with a serving kitchen, dining room, activities room, salon, and private garden.

The entry to Atria Englewood, in Colorado.Atria Englewood was designed by OZ Architecture and built by Brinkmann Constructions for CA Ventures (developer) and Atria Senior Living (owner). Photo: Steve Mohlenkamp


Generously sized independent/assisted living units, located on floors two through six, range from 379-sf studios to 1,161-sf one-bed- room apartments.

Denver’s OZ Architecture (design architect/AOR) made the bold decision to locate all the amenities from their customary spot at ground level to the top floor so that residents could take in the sweeping vistas of the Rocky Mountains.


The Fourteener Restaurant on the sixth floor of Atria EnglewoodThe Fourteener Restaurant on the sixth floor. Other amenities: a demo kitchen, café, theater room, and clubroom, as well as two separate rooftop terraces. Photo: Steve Mohlenkamp


A two-story lobby has a grand fireplace and a bistro where breakfast is served; it becomes a full-service bar in the evening. There’s also an outdoor garden and courtyard.

Fortis Structural (structural engineer), PE Services (mechanical-electrical-plumbing engineer), and Brinkmann Constructors (general contractor) also participated in the enterprise.


Salon in Atria EnglewoodThe beauty salon in Atria Englewood. Photo: Steve Mohlenkamp





MORE AND MORE, DEVELOPERS of senior living centers are selecting sites and demanding designs that connect and engage residents with their neighborhoods—a goal that is being fulfilled at Hunters Woods at Trails Edge, which abuts Reston’s Turquoise Nature Trail.

The 210-unit community is accessible to the Reston Community Center, which offers residents an aquatic center, theater arts, and communal spaces. Walking trails feature age-appropriate workout stations.

Hunters Woods at Trails Edge, Reston, Va.Hunters Woods at Trails Edge, Reston, Va., a 210-unit community providing memory care as well as independent and assisted living. Photo: Kevin Weber Photography


Moseley Architects was charged by developer Atlantic Realty Companies and operator IntegraCare Corporation with preserving views to the forest that surrounds the property. Working with civil engineer Urban Engineering and general contractor Balfour Beatty Construction, the team organized Hunters Woods as two connected buildings over a subterranean parking garage with more than 200 spaces.


Pergola at Hunters Woods at Trails Edge, Reston, VA.A pergola creates a landscape focal point at Hunters Woods at Trails Edge, designed by Moseley Architects for Atlantic Realty Companies. Photo: Kevin Weber Photography


In addition to independent and assisted living and memory care, Hunters Woods offers much-needed short-term/respite care for abbreviated stays. Its high-end amenities include restaurant-style dining, a fully equipped fitness center, a surround-sound movie theater, and an art studio. A state-of-the-art security and call system uses smart keys and automatic apartment door openers for ease of entry.

Moseley Architects (designer) led a project team consisting of Urban Engineering (civil engineer), Direct Supply Aptura (interior design). Lilker EMO Energy Consulting (building commissioning), and Balfour Beatty Construction (general contractor).


Barber shop at Hunters Woods at Trails Edge, Reston, Va.Owner IntegraCare Corporation included a barber shop in its Hunters Woods at Trails Edge. Photo: Kevin Weber Photography




THE MISSION OF THE DESIGN TEAM for this 72,486-sf assisted living/memory care community in Howard County, Md., was to emulate a boutique-style hotel. BCT Architects’ design, created for developer and owner Capitol Seniors Housing, reflects the view that more and more seniors are looking for the kinds of amenities demanded by younger renters.

Arbor Terrace memory care/assisted living in Fulton, Md.Arbor Terrace at Fulton memory care/assisted living complex in Fulton, Md., about 20 miles north of the District of Columbia. Photo: Green Sofa Productions


BCT incorporated open common areas, natural light, and warm, modern architecture into the 86-unit complex. A floor-to-ceiling glass wall and grand staircase in the lobby adds dramatic effect. Interior designer Faulkner Design Group used sleek finishes with the look of marble and dark wood, natural materials, and a soft color palette.


A casual coffee bar/casual dining space at Arbor Terrace at FultonA coffee bar/casual dining space at Arbor Terrace at Fulton. Photo: Green Sofa Productions


Residents, guests, and employees can walk to shopping opportunities via the pathways connecting the community to the stores and restaurants next door at the Maple Lawn development.

Carroll Engineering (structural engineer), Gutschick, Little & Weber (civil engineer/landscape architect), SRBR Engineers (mechanical-electrical-plumbing engineer), Faulkner Design Group (interiors), Food Strategy Inc. (kitchens), and Forrester Construction (general contractor) contributed to the enterprise.


The dining room in the Arbor Terrace at Fulton facility, designed by BCT Architects and Faulkner Design Group (interior designer). Photo: Green Sofa ProductionsThe dining room in the Arbor Terrace at Fulton facility, designed by BCT Architects and Faulkner Design Group (interior designer). Photo: Green Sofa Productions





YOURLIFE PALM BEACH GARDENS FUSES the South Florida resort lifestyle with a physical environment that promotes healthy living for seniors. The 234,000-sf, four-story community consists of two interconnected buildings with 143 assisted living and 91 memory care units. The buildings share a common core of support spaces and amenities.

YourLife "boutique" senior living at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.YourLife offers 91 memory care units and 143 assisted living residences in the luxury setting of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Photo: Island Studio Productions


Taking cues from hospitality design, architecture/engineering firm LEO A DALY blurred the lines between interior and exterior to create a sense of openness and luxury. The designer incorporated the eyebrows from neighboring roof lines to fashion a sculpted massing that frames the front entrance, which enhances a sense of arrival and helps residents and guests with wayfinding.


Resort-style pool at YourLife of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.Resort-style pool at YourLife of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., designed by architecture/engineering firm LEO A DALY for owner YourLife Senior Living. Photo: Island Studio Productions

The designer partnered with MT Fuller Functional Arts to fulfill a municipal requirement for art in public places, leading to the creation of a striking, lighted metal-and-glass pyramid sculpture set on the front lawn.

Interior designer Mosaic Design Studio amped up the resort feel in the lobby with a dramatic, curved wooden ceiling that frames boldly colored light fixtures.

Michael B. Schorah & Associates (structural/civil engineer), TLC Engineering Solutions (mechanical-electrical-plumbing engineer), Mosaic Design Studios (interiors), Cotleur & Hearing (landscape architect), and KAST Construction (general contractor) added their expertise to the enterprise for owner YourLife Senior Living.





MANY SENIORS PREFER TO BE close to shopping, dining, and transportation, but land that fits the bill is expensive, if it is even available. As a result, developers are looking at sites for 55+ communities that they once would have dismissed out of hand.

One such case is Regency Palms, which offers 32 assisted living units (52 beds) and 24 memory care units (30 beds) in the Long Beach Professional Building, a restored 1929 Art Deco office building. The eight-story edifice has a café and urgent care clinic on the ground level that create a connection to the highly walkable, transit-oriented neighborhood.

Exterior of Regency Palms senior living, Long Beach CA by KTGYThis eight-story professional building from the 1920s was converted into Regency Palms assisted living/memory care, Long Beach, Calif. Photo: Paul Turang


Former office spaces were redesigned into residential units fitted out with kitchenettes. Two office spaces on every floor were converted into great rooms with enhanced natural light. The basement was made into an activity room, fitness center, and salon.

Because the building was on the National Register of Historic Places, changes to the exterior were severely restricted. The original windows were no longer being made, so the design team worked with manufacturers to match the windows and façade as closely as possible to their originals.
The building takes up the entire site, leaving no room for an outdoor memory care patio. The team found the perfect spot on the roof, which became an inviting space for residents to enjoy the views from the tallest building in the neighborhood.


Lobby at the Regency Palms memory care/assisted living center, designed by KTGY Architecture + PlanningLobby at the Regency Palms memory care/assisted living center, designed by KTGY Architecture + Planning. Photo: Paul Turang


KTGY Architecture + Planning, along with Studio Six5 (interiors) and Urban Community Builders (general contractor), performed the work for client Global Premier Development.

The Regency Palms won Best 55+ Repositioned Project at the 2020 NAHB International Builders’ Show.


Amenities deck at Regency Palms. The restoration won an award at the 2020 NAHB International Builders' Show. Photo: Paul DurangAmenities deck at Regency Palms. The restoration won an award at the 2020 International Builders' Show. Photo: Paul Turang

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