We’ve seen a lot of old folks? homes in our day, and their design is always majorly depressing, whether they’re channeling The Golden Girls or the Bates Motel (or worse).
Which makes the Residências assistidas em Alcácer do Sal, in Portugal, a kind of freak of nature. Designed by Lisbon-based Aires Mateus Arquitectos, it’s a long, snaking sculpture of a building that looks more like a chichi resort in St. Tropez than the kind of place that holds bingo nights and dispenses bedpans. Note all the dramatic recesses and the copious glass and the pristine white walls. To judge by the photos, Aires Mateus is doing Richard Meier better than Richard Meier.
Not that it’s style over substance. The sculptural shape of the building cuts the interior into isolated cubes, which throw tons of sunlight indoors and create partitions that ensure residents’ privacy. These are important features in any home. They’re especially important at a retiree center, where, if science is any guide, things like natural light and fresh air can actually improve residents’ well-being. Besides, anything to make their lives more enjoyable — be it more sunlight or less pink — is a good thing.