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Interior design Senior center.


Northfield, III.

From warehouse to their house

In the design world, before-and-after projects rarely get more interesting than warehouse conversions. And the industrial-to-ingenious makeover for Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. Campus, North Shore Senior Center in Northfield, ill., is no exception.

The team at OWP&P Architects in Chicago found stunning qualities in the vast openness of the raw space, a trio of former warehouses comprising 40,000 sq. ft. with no columns. By carving an interior "Main Street" from the entrance through the warehouse, the architects defined a pathway to learning labs, offices, a gift shop, a cafe, and cozier nooks including a library. The walkway eventually opens onto a multi-purpose winter garden, bathed in refracted sunlight. Adjacent to both auditorium and dining room, the winter garden is the acknowledged centerpoint for social functions.

In keeping with its role as the community gathering space and senior services provider, North Shore Senior Center includes both private spaces and public spaces-- some grand, some intimate. The center's spatial programming meshes with its philosophy: to provide social services and counseling in public or private (as dictated by their nature); to offer seniors the opportunity to learn and explore; to encourage peer interaction and socialization in a variety of ways. Judges agree: This project offers senior-friendly Main Street for the 21st century.


Rob Volzer: This is a great example of sort of a post-industrial aesthetic that's achievable in many communities.

Jane Rohde: The space works well.

Lorraine Hiatt: It appears to have a good interior design plan in concept and use.

Martha Child: I was especially intrigued by the entrance area that had a wonderful trellis.

ABOUT THE JURY Jury chairman Rob Volzer is Interiors Director of Clark Patterson Associates, a full-service design firm based in Rochester, N.Y. Martha Child is president of Martha Child Interiors, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sunrise Assisted Living Services Inc. located in Sterling, Va. Dr. Lorraine Hiatt is a New York City-based consultant specializing in aging and environmental design. Jane Rohde, a registered architect and certified interior designer, founded JSR Associates in Elk City, Md.


Owner: Arthur C. Nielsen Jr., Campus, North Shore Senior Center

Architecture/Interior design: OWP&P Architects (Chicago)

Project team: Martin S. Valins, RIBA, project principal; Joseph G. Weiner, project manager; Margaret J. Crevantes, AIA, IIDA, project designer; Michael Mariano, project designer;. Susan Boeman, project architect; Phil Harrington, architectural team member; Patricia Canedo, architectural team member; Charles F. GaNun, graphic design; Colleen Purcell, graphic design; Fred Lindenmuth, mechanical engineer; Ghassem Poushanchi, mechanical engineer; Alex Ledesma, electrical engineer; Brian Makenas, CIPE, plumbing/fire protection engineer; Robert H. Thompson, CIPE, plumbing/fire protection engineer; David E. Eckmann, SE, PE, AIA, structural engineer; Jeff Byrkit, structural engineer

Total project size: 40,000 sq. ft.

Former building use: warehouses

Renovation bonus: column-free space

Project goal: flexible community center

Construction costs per sq. ft.: $112.50
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Publication:Contemporary Long Term Care
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2001
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