A place where the present is celebrated

We see the elder years not as a time to look back at what has passed in desolation, but a time to re-juvenile in the prospect of making new friends, taking up hobbies and focusing on a healthy life to make the years ahead purposeful and fulfilling.

Strong interpersonal bounds and relationships have proven to be essential to one’s mental and physical health, and what better means than through an ‘Embrace’. A tangible as well as symbolic departure point for the search to the best senior housing design.

Elderly people rely on nearby and accessible activities and facilities to ensure they have ample and diverse opportunities for passing the time, socially interact and be part of the community. Yet when exploring the local rural setting, we encountered a place that had little to offer. This, coupled with the inhabitants’ relatively high average age, means that social isolation is lurking around the corner.

Can we create a space that blends with its environment and inhabitants flawlessly, whilst adding an attractive space and program to revitalizing the area and its future residents?

Staring of with our project goals:

  • Creating a place that one can call home considering aspects such as comfort, privacy, safety and self-determination.

  • Creating a project designed around the idea to generate positive impact to health, both physical, social and mental.

  • Creating a project with community value to enhance the social well-being and social interests of the local community.

  • Creating a project with minimum eco-logical footprint, and thus providing a long term and sustainable design solution.

Project Data

Location Leiria, Portugal
Function Elderly Home
Size 4.300m²
Year 2023
Collaboration Arolla, Yuriy Yugay


A site with the potential to create a serene natural habitat with pristine views.

A project mimicking the rural context.
‘Like a small Village’

Mixing public whilest separating private.

Stimulating views and interaction between the building and surrounding landscape.

Introducing a typical grid system to create unity, set a clear housing standard and reduce construction cost.

The caracter of rural exterior a homelike interior are emphasized with choice of material, color and detail throughout the design.


Given the scale of our project development, which is unique for the area, we identified the potential to create
a home for the elderly that would serve as a local community heart.

The building can be seen as a contemporary interpretation of 3 village houses. Overlooking a beautiful collective garden and the surrounding landscape.

We know that being in touch with nature can be beneficial for health and well-being, but many older people encounter obstacles when going outside. Studies have shown that for older adults, exposure to nature helps improve sleep patterns and reduces anxiety and improves cognitive functioning. Simply put, spending time in nature helps people to feel healthier and happier.

Therefore our collective space, indoors and outdoors, is designed as a transition space between the apartments and the outside and facilitates all type of activity spaces. While some are involved in an activity, the other is just passing by creating spontaneous encounters and meaningful moments.


We are aware that the proposed eco-friendly principles never serve a single purpose. Eco-friendly
principles are integrated in a way that multiple advantages are derived from each intervention.



To come up with a feasible alternative to conventional construction, we propose a hybrid approach with the use of concrete for the core and an underground carpark locations to counter fire safety requirements and to limit construction cost.

Open Floorplans

Laminated timber construction possesses a greater structural strength than concrete elements of the same size. We are not only able to create slender and aesthetic structural elements but more importantly create flexible open floorplans. This supports function changes or transformation of the collective spaces in the future.

Modular Construction

Less labor, lighter foundation, less waste, greater construction speed, less construction noise, re-use of all building components, greater construction precision… many reasons to believe this is the ideal construction principle.

More Than Just The Finish

The natural moisture regulating effect and air permeable properties of wooden buildings have proven to lower the impact on those suffering respiratory infections. The calming nature and acoustics of wooden interiors have proven to reduce stress and blood pressure levels thus increasing overall well-being. Wooden buildings are a tool to realize holistic building designs and to create functional and purposeful places.


For elderly people the prospect of having to leave the comfort of their own familiar home, leaving behind belongings and memories can be stressful or even frightening. Therefore our residential complex is equipped with comfortable single and double rooms with basic amenities, supporting the need of privacy when one desires.

All rooms follow the same standardized and modular dimensions to allow for flexible planning. A few alternative types are available such as the budget and the large double room to respond to any specific demand.

Creating intimate interiors while allowing to build strong connections with fellow
residents proves to be essential to avoid a sense of isolation, enhancing a person’s well-being.