For this multi-generational community, we have focused on creating a plan with architecture that promotes active wellness in three key realms: mental, physical and social. For any community, it is important to create a sense of place by maintaining a balanced relationship between private and public spaces.

The community will support adult education, lifelong learning, and interaction with neighbors. Senior apartment buildings and community centers will host spaces for these activities. Physical health is the key to longevity and continued mental acuity. Community activity centers will provide unusually excellent spaces to exercise, and abundant outdoor spaces for a variety of places to walk and run. To enjoy a long life, it is important to maintain connections to friends and family. All housing types will have outdoor spaces and/or community rooms that are ideal for hosting guests and social events.

The curved streets in the plan were inspired by the beautifully contained views in the famous London crescents. The geometry of the streets produce a new understanding of repetitive architecture and a more intimate sense of community. The master plan implements the curve at multiple scales. The curved green path is an interpretation of the eco-city requirements for slow green paths to be located within each of the eight large blocks. The central plaza is formed by the “opening” of the interior of each of the eight blocks by the curving of the other paths around a central node. A large shared park is located adjacent to four of the parcels, and a hotel and leisure center is located along the waterfront, adjacent to the future Tianjin Maritime Museum. Community buildings are distributed along the expanded nodes in the center of each of the eight blocks. 

The parking is located strategically under much of the site. Parking entries, (marked in red), are at the edges of the block. Every unit has an individually assigned parking space, located no further than a 250m walk from the unit’s front door. The tall-building cores connect directly to parking underneath; the townhouses, the stacked unites and the villa units have shared parking staircases distributed throughout the site.

The blocks are organized around nodes. Each node sponsors multiple functions, contains a space for interaction among multiple generations, a space for community functions and gatherings, special housing for seniors, and retail space for local shopping needs. The multiple functions mean that each of the nodes can contain spaces for activities that promote mental, physical and social wellness.

Each of the eight blocks has a different type of building at its core, depending on where it is located within the site and its phasing. Each community node includes certain functions that are shared among all eight blocks.

There are multiple ways of living multi-generationally. These three ways of living together are all present within the master plan. 

The Family living style is the most traditional, with multiple generations living within the same unit. In Villa and Townhouse units, accessible ground floor rooms can be dedicated to the elderly, with younger generations living above.

The Adjacent living style is flexible; many different buildings can accommodate two units side-by-side. In the stacked unit type, the oldest generation typically lives on the ground floor; in other buildings, all units are wheelchair-accessible.

Independent living is typical of denser urban areas. Seniors may live in any type of smaller accessible unit, including special seniors-only buildings, while their families can also choose any unit that suits their size and income. The mix-and-match approach produces 24 possible combinations.

The assisted living units are located in the same buildings as the relevant specialized clinics, and rooms have in-unit nursing care. Medical facilities will be designed according to a programmatic analysis of demographics, and general and specialized care needs.

Location: Tianjin, China

Client: Tianjin Wellness Community

Schedule: Design 2015