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GVL: Aging is a natural process for everyone. How to lead a healthy and carefree later life is the problem faced by the elderly today and a great challenge for us in the future as well. According to the data provided by China Association of the Elderly, by the end of 2017, the number of people over 60 years old had reached 241 million, making up 17.3% of the whole population of the nation. And in 2030, the aging population will reach a peak and continue for 20 years. Around 2050, China’s aging population will grow to a predicted 487 million. With the growth of the aging population, there’s an increasing demand for a better environment for later life, which is also essential for the sustainable development of the aging industry.
▼实景鸟瞰 Aerial View
Different from common landscape design, the building of the environment for the elderly should be more people-oriented, taking the physical and psychological demands of the elderly into consideration. In response to the current discussion, GVL team has put forward the design idea of “caring landscape” which puts “care” first, accepts and satisfies the elderly both physically and psychologically. With careful design, reasonable arrangement and caring details, it will build a homelike nursing space for the elderly, which will not only provide the elderly with professional care but also allow them to live freely and feel at home.
▼总平图 Master plan
The Care Building of the Glorious City is the first elderly-care project by Longfor Chongqing, whose roof garden is designed GVL with the idea of “caring landscape”. The design team hope that the city where we live is not only for the young to realize their dreams but also for the elderly to enjoy their later life. A healing garden designed with great care, if it creates a domino effect in the city and inspires more elderly-care spaces, will finally fill the city with kindness and beauty. This is what GVL and Longfor both look forward to and it is also the true meaning of caring landscape.
Caring landscape designed for the elderly and also for ourselves in the future.
Caring Landscape means satisfying the needs of the elderly. Therefore, the design team has referred to the local and international studies on the physical and psychological characteristics of the elderly, analyzing the demands of people of different ages and various health conditions. The researches show that a series of physical and psychological changes will take place when someone enters his or her later life.
After understanding the needs of the elderly, GVL has designed six main functions in the garden: health care and fitness, gardening and rehabilitation, communication and recreation, children’s playground, pet paradise, and cultural activities. The team has combined different functions flexibly according to the practical demands.
The roof garden is located on the 17th floor, which is intended to serve the elderly living in the apartments. To relieve the elderly’s negative emotions caused by physiological decline, GVL team has tried to encourage them to participate in outdoor activities, do exercises and communicate with others. In this way, the elderly will feel happier and have the sense of belongings. It will finally improve the life quality of the elderly. With the analysis on the practical conditions, the team decided to focus on gardening therapy, physical exercises, and communication.
Stimulating the initiative of the elderly is the first step to encourage them to do exercise. The circular running track and the linear rainbow pergola as well as the interesting and colorful space will encourage the elderly to do exercise and have the sense of achievement.
▼跑道上的刻度与提示语鼓励老人锻炼 The marks and words on the running track will encourage the elderly to do exercise
▼老人运动累了可在有扶手的坐凳上休息 Benches with armrests for having a rest after exercises
The rainbow pergola is inspired by the scattering of natural light. The team hopes to imitate the effect of a rainbow with the natural light shining through the pergola and scattering in different directions. It will arouse the elderly to get interested in colors and exercises.
On the surface of the track, marks and words, for example, “Congratulations on one more loop!”, are painted to make the elderly clear about their progress and bring the sense of achievement. At the same time, it will enable the elderly to decide amount of their exercise according to their heath conditions.
Gardening therapy is quite different from physical or chemical therapies. It refers to healthy or sub-healthy people make use of the plants to hold different activities which aim to promote both mental and physical health. Thus the design of this space pays special attention to creating a natural atmosphere. There are well-arranged local plants and wooden plant beds which allow the elderly to feel friendly, comfortable and free.
▼园艺疗养 Gardening Therapy
▼特意抬高的种植池，坐轮椅的老人可靠近进行园艺操作 The plant beds are elevated to be reachable for the elderly who sit in wheelchairs
It encourages the interaction between the elderly and plants. The plant beds are carefully designed to allow all the elderly to get close to nature.
The research on the size of the plant beds provides chances for the elderly in wheelchairs to practice gardening. A 0.65m distance between the ground to the plant bed is left for putting legs, and the beds are wide enough for communicating while gardening.
▼双层花池可鼓励坐轮椅的老人起身锻炼身体 Double-level flower beds encourage the elderly in the wheelchairs to stand and exercise themselves
Encouraging the elderly to do exercise while gardening is also an important part of gardening therapy. The multi-level planting platforms are designed with the hope to encourage the elderly in wheelchairs to do more exercises. According to research, the arms of the elderly can be raised up from 1.2m to 1.4m, so the double-level flower beds are 1.2m high, which will encourage the elderly in wheelchairs to stand up to reach the plants and exercise their themselves at the same time.
The irrigation water serves as a landscape and provides a chance for the elderly to close to nature. They can loosen the soil, trim the dead leaves, irrigate the plants, chat with each other and do exercise at the same time.
▼设置灌溉水景使老人在灌溉中锻炼肢体 The irrigation waterscape allows the elderly to do exercise when irrigating
The spaces are designed for the elderly to store gardening tools or their private items
▼花池的最下层是收纳柜 Storage spaces are provided at the bottom of the flower beds
The garden plays an important role in encouraging communications which will bring the elderly with the sense of belonging and social identity. Therefore, a special space is created in the roof garden for daily communication.
The quiet and beautiful space is ideal for enjoy views, chatting and communicating. The stools are set in triangle to avoid uncomfortable eye contact and provide more views.
▼交流休闲 Communication and Recreation
Because the elderly are usually weak in strength and balance, more facilities and measures are needed to ensure their safety. Therefore, in the design of the rehabilitation garden, barrier-free facilities and details are essential. Step-free and double-handrail design ensures safety.
▼无障碍体系设计 Barrier-free System
To ensure barrier-free access, the roof garden is designed without any step, which will allow the elderly to walk or pass freely.
According to the “Codes for Accessibility Design”, when the width of the ramp is equal to or over 1.8m, it will enable two wheelchairs from opposite directions to pass at one time. Therefore, all the ramps of the rehabilitation garden are equal to or over 2.4m wide, which ensure the safe passage of the wheelchairs.
From the width of the paths, the design of the handrails and the application of anti-slip materials to the treatment of the details, the designers have tried their best to ensure the safety and comfort of the elderly.
Double-level handrails, which are 0.9m and 0.75m high, will be favorable to both walkers and those who sit in wheelchairs.
The roof garden allows the elderly to experience nature by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling, healing them both physically and mentally.
Reminding the elderly of their beautiful old memories will help them better understand themselves and avoid the sense of loss. This nostalgic therapy will also boost their self-esteem and make them more socialized. In the garden, wall paintings with memorable cable cars, tall buildings and small stations will bring back old memories and enhance the sense of belonging.
▼原有建筑外立面增加缆车墙绘 Wall paintings with cable cars
▼设置公车站牌营造等车的氛围 Old bus stop and sign
As the design team expects, the construction of the elderly friendly environment needs attention and participation of all walks of life. What we designers need to do is not only space design but also to draw joint efforts to build a friendly environment for the elderly.
Developer: Chongqing Longfor Hengzhuo Property Development Co.,Ltd.
Category: Urban Renovation
Design Scope: landscape concept design and construction drawing design
Time of Design: November, 2017
Landscape Design: GVL+Dr.Zhang Ling
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