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Details of Design

ASSISTED LIVING CENTRE

An idea whose time has arrived

SITE: Sowripalayam, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

SITE CONTEXT: The second largest city in Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore has emerged as one of the top retirement cities in the country due to its excellent healthcare facilities and pleasant climatic conditions, as well as the development of several retirement communities. One of the three traditional retirement towns of India.

CONCEPT:
Contemporary yet traditional setting based upon “bhartiya ghar”- Aangan (Central courtyard), surrounding bedrooms or clusters, interactive pockets and verandah. Inspired by human senses- sight, hearing, touch and smell, the design is done to incorporate these elements. A place, not just to support people of physical challenges but to provide them with a home away from home; release mental pressure by healing and establishing increased social networks through design.

RESPONSE:
Imbibing traditional ways of living in modern settings to provide peace to the heart and comfort to the frail fighters. Sight- array of trees; hearing- chirping of birds and sound of fountain; smell- flowers and scented candles; touch- groves and textures. Providing visual relief through diffused light levels, shadow and greenery. Building orientation to optimise wind flow, combat extreme conditions and minimise glare. Universal design and reduced distances to break the barriers of flow and depression.

DESIGN STRATEGY:
Reviving age old living customs and strategies to make residents feel at home. Drawing inspiration from prevailing layouts of dwellings in order to utilise the available climatic condition. Smaller spaces opening up into ever increasing areas with increasing social connectivity to never let a resident feel alone. Personal gardens and community spaces to help people socialise. Seating spaces at regular intervals for seniors to take rest whenever needed. They can choose who to socialise with. Decreasing travel distances from personal rooms to areas of congregation and interaction. Self-guiding and linear design so that residents seek minimum assistance. Segregation through blocks as per the assistance needed and yet integration through cluster formation. Alternate open and semi open spaces to drive out gloomy corners and integrate people from various walks of life together at a single place. Making occupants self-independent by creating a platform for them to exhibit their talents and knowledge- Earn while you stay. Zoning of spaces w.r.t the privacy needed. Providing earth berms to cater to safety and comfort in terms of reduced noise levels and relaxation spaces. Provision of both direct and diffused light in interior spaces as per the need of different individuals. Ergonometric of palliative zone allow them to have exterior views while lying down on bed which is achieved by lower sill level.

VERNACULAR APPROACH:
Inspired from Nalukettu- Blocks on four sides with a central courtyard, a typical design ideology of Kerela practiced in other parts of South India as well. People live under one roof and enjoy commonly owned facilities. The pitched roof elevation is a pure reminiscence of Gopurams- that mark the entrance to a holy place, here, our elders. Jali works to create impressions of Rangoli- the famous art of South.

FEATURES
Play of light, colours and shades to provide ultimate user comfort and experience. Hues of orange, yellow and reds to improve energy levels in common gathering spaces. Green colours to make residents feel at peace. Dark grey ceiling is used to minimise glare. Textured walls with grooves and undulations to help people take support of walls and identify spaces and routes through feel and touch. Pergola provides interior shading. Rooms are designed giving priority to flexible nature of inmates. Interior corridors are protected from harsh climate by use of rolling jute mats. The red colored exterior walls cladded with vettukallu induces energy and vigour in residents

SUSTAINABLE FEATURES
Satisfying the building’s energy demands with use of passive cooling and heating systems. A biogas plant to generate electricity through human wastes. Locally produced compressed earth blocks to incorporate traditional mud architecture in a better way. Boulders and stones from nearby Subarnarekha river to form plinth. Maximum natural light ingress through increased courtyards in and around the building. Photo voltaic panels in roof to generate solar power. The earth berms provided on site are created using excavated soil. “ATHANGUDI” tiles locally made using broken ceramic, glass and soil are used for external cladding of yoga and meditation canter. Use of “vettukallu” -laterite for exterior cladding as it is low cost and gains strength with increasing exposure to sun and air. PVC sheets covered pathways to allow natural light. Landscaping through herbal gardens provide natural cures. With low thermal mass due to limited use of concrete, lesser carbon footprint is generated. Provision for future expansion is provided.

ENERGY CONSERVATION
Energy controlled design with use of vernacular elements, vettukallu (laterite), diffused lighting, courtyards, solar panels and jali works. Small turbines in basins to produce hydro-power. Photo-voltaic panels in roof at alternate bands with wooden pergola .Reduced dependency on mechanical devices by lowering interior temperatures through materials used.

ADDITIONAL PROGRAMMES
Provision of YOGA AND MEDITATION CENTER in north-east suffice physical and mental cure to residents. The surrounding open spaces and deck can be used to perform yoga amidst nature and sun. Helps to reduce depression levels and combat vitamin D deficiency. AYURVEDIC TREATEMENT block is provided with cures for constipation performed via wet therapy. Space for aroma therapy is given to battle stress. Open area in front of Ayurveda zone caters sun therapy. These open spaces can be used by residents to carry out their personal hobbies like teaching, weaving, singing etc. AMPHITHEATRE in NW to provide entertainment to seniors. A platform for them to exhibit their talents. Students from near- by institutions can perform for them. Herbal plants like kuthiraikulambu-reduce body heat; rail pachilai- treat headache; mulvelikizhangu- increase immunity are provided in gardens. ACCU- PRESSURE to treat health issues and CYCLE TRACK is provided for leisure.