Aging in Africa sets out to be the first age-valued community on the African continent where the elderly can maintain a meaningful and healthy lifestyle in a comfortable and safe environment. It is a retirement community for Catholic priests that are excluded from the traditional, family based, model of elder care in Cote D’Ivoire. The architecture is shaped by deploying a holistic set of social, economic and environmentally sustainable theories pertaining to elder living and care. It is about architecture that does not just house caring, it is architecture as the caring device. Our hope is that it is an inspiration for a new breed of community that values the efficacy of spirit over efficiency of care.
The project, set on a sliver of land between the Atlantic and an inland lagoon, is organized like a typical Cote D’Ivoire village around a central spine which stretches North/South from existing streets to capture the site’s prevailing winds. Perforations along the perimeter let the natural vegetation grow into the village and capitalize on the stunning views towards the water. Single story residential buildings frame the village’s spine and submerge into nature at their back-ends to facilitate drainage and to blend the site’s edge with the environment. The project’s public buildings are centered on the village axis to reinforce their communal function. Based on simple geometries, the building shapes tilt and fold in relationship to each other, yet with an individual expression. The peaks of the church employ a simple geometry that yields an iconic form that is at once a novel and familiar type of sacred space.