Senior Citizens' Center

Wheatfield, New York

The project is a 10,000 square-foot building with a large multi-purpose room accommodating up to three hundred people, smaller additional meeting rooms, game rooms, craft rooms, lounge and a commercial kitchen. In addition, there is a porte cochere, outdoor patio and parking for 120 cars. The total project cost amounts to $1,500,000.

Our intent was to provide a warm and home-like space for the town's senior citizen community to conduct their daily activities and find community with others. The structure was designed to blend in with the neighborhood's residential character rather than the institutional one of the nearby town hall.

The major design challenge was to integrate the large 90' x 50' multi-purpose room into the aesthetics and scale of a residential structure. Measures used to accomplish this were the ten foot high soffit and fascia ring around the entire perimeter of the building which extended the roof in the rear over the patio. This allowed for the required twelve foot ceiling in the multi-purpose room and provided shading for the west-facing windows. Two parallel ridges on different elevations run north and south and had to be bridged with a gable roof, giving the building its significant height and allowing the installation of the cupola, which allows space for mechanical vents and air make-up.

The ceiling in the multi-purpose room is ribbed and coffered to break up the large scale of this room and the pattern is mirrored on the floor's linoleum layout. The foyer, lounge and seating area has a tiled floor and wooden vaulted ceiling with a two story high fireplace. The doors, windows, trim and moldings are natural oak which resembles a home environment. Balance and flexibility of natural and artificial light has been incorporated to accommodate changing use requirements. The same principle applies for the mechanical system with its combination of air and hydronic heating. Heat recovery units were incorporated for energy efficiency.

The project was built under the projected cost of $1,500,000. (Completion in 2001.)