Westlake Christian Terrace West affordable apartments are now fully renovated, serving a community of older adults in Oakland, California. This 2020 renovation follows the 2014 renovation of its neighboring sister development Westlake Christian Terrace East, which MWA also designed for Christian Church Homes. The Westlake Christian Terrace West redesign brings continuity between both wings of the campus, refreshing a 1970’s design to become modern, bright, and structurally sound. With accessibility as a key concern of this renovation, designers updated amenity spaces to provide ease of use, and 10% of units are now accessible to people with mobility, hearing, and visual disabilities.
Consistent color and material palettes introduce visual cohesion throughout common areas. Continuous flooring leads residents from one room to the next, and walls open up with interior glazing to provide a greater sense of visual connection throughout the common areas. Upon entrance, residents pass through the lobby and mailroom, which leads to a large multipurpose room and an adjoining gym.
Light floods into the community rooms from oversized windows. Double doors open to an outdoor plaza, encouraging indoor/outdoor living, with picnic seating and a covered rideshare stop. What was previously overtaken by dark breezeways is now a sunny spot for residents to come together; walkways are now covered by a translucent Polygal roof that lightens the plaza. Western red cedar compliments the blue stucco featured on both the east and west buildings, highlighting the community building as the central joining feature of the campus.
In every apartment building, especially apartments for older adults, accessibility can drastically increase the quality of life for residents. MWA added 20 ADA units and seven units with flashing fire alarms and doorbells for people with hearing impairments. In the common areas, continuous hardwood flooring makes it easier to operate physical aids such as a wheelchair or a walker while also reducing the risk of tripping. Elevators open onto brightly colored corridors, reinforcing wayfinding for residents; each floor has a distinct color.
Emerging from an interactive design process in which the client prioritized the interests of their active and engaged resident population, the game room, exercise room, and outdoor exercise equipment were retained and improved as building amenities vital to the client’s mission.