Golda Meir House Expansion

Auburndale, MA

Client

2Life Communities (formerly known as Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly)

Program

Proposed addition of 68 units to existing 199-unit supportive senior community with 57 one-bedroom and 11 two-bedroom units, including 9 units for chronically homeless individuals and 29 additional parking spaces for a total of 113 spaces.

Sustainable

Enterprise Green certification anticipated

Challenge

The existing community is located on a hilly site with a steep grade change, ringed by a golf course and residential neighborhood. The goal for the project was to create a significant number of new affordable apartments, retaining a sense of one community among existing and new residents and limiting visual impacts on neighbors. In addition, 2Life wanted to improve healthcare access and care coordination for the +/- 70% of Golda Meir House residents that use nearby Newton Wellesley Hospital.

Design Solution

Responding to site conditions and early shadow studies, the proposed expansion is in two separate additions on different corners of the building. In order to keep the sense of community for residents and access to the ground floor “village center,” the design is fused into the original building, filling in volumes and adding on as appropriate.

The upper addition faces the neighborhood with three stories, making a more direct connection to the upper parking lot at the ground floor and dropping back to four stories behind the hill. The generous lobby has space set aside for an art room and small practice spaces for a potential partnership with the New England Conservatory.

The lower addition is accessible from the main entry drop off. The glass-framed wall marks the site of a new medical clinic – a potential partnership with Newton Wellesley Hospital – that aims to offer services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, and other senior-specialized care. The building steps down another two stories to a lower patio that makes a connection to the nearby Woodland MBTA Station.

Adding to existing concrete plank and block clad in brick, the additions apply cost effective fiber cement in creative ways with rain screen systems to match and contrast with the existing building’s rhythm of windows and massing. Working with shadow box and exterior framing of windows, the design uses textures and a consistent, contrasting color palette to highlight the positive qualities and simplicity of the original 1970s design.

The project has gained enthusiastic support from the community, including a recommendation for $3.25 M of CPA (Community Preservation Act) funding from the City of Newton.