Best 55+ Design of 2023: Senior Living Community Brings the Arizona Desert Indoors

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In the Arizona desert sits a “serene oasis” of senior living: Overture Arcadia.

Located near the center of Scottsdale, Arizona, the community’s spaces foster social connections among residents while adding 160 apartments.

Central to the community’s design are resort-style amenities spanning 11,500 square feet in total that bring nature inside and promote resident well-being and quality of life.

From a great room to private theater along with a separate yoga studio, and various rooms for activities and private functions, the community added well-placed amenities to bring residents together. Other shared spaces include a cafe, coffee bar and game room.

The Overture Arcadia was recognized for its forward-thinking design when it snagged the first place spot in the 55+ category of the 2023 SHN Architecture and DesignAwards.

The Concept

Planning for the project began in 2019. Initially, the project planners of Overture Arcadia largely planned remotely due to restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic., Alliance Residential led the project as its owner and developer. triARC Architecture provided architectural services, with interior design from StudioSIX5.

Design teams stayed on schedule for the community’s planning phase despite not being able to meet in-person initially at the outset.

From the project’s beginning, planners endeavored “to draw people together and provide a maintenance free lifestyle to residents.” To do that, the team conceptualized several different spaces where residents could mingle, each with its own vibes.

For example, in the community’s main space, called “The Scene,” residents can gather and mingle. Large windows bring natural light into the entire community and the area serves as a way to bring the entire community together.

Planners also wanted to incorporate colors and textures throughout the community as an “ode to the scenery” of the surrounding desert, according to StudioSIX5 Designer Ashlyne McComb. The community’s interior is full of furnishings made with natural colors, and walls are bedecked with earth tones and materials evoking the desert, such as wood and stone.

The design also includes a “gallery wall” that includes photographs showing the surrounding area’s history and geography.

“We wanted to bring a more modern flair and bring those textures to life so you get the ode to the scenery and the surrounding areas but with an upscale vibe,” McComb said.

The design that emerged from that process has 160 apartments in a three-story building totaling 160,000 square feet and planning wrapped up in early 2021 prior to construction starting.

The Construction

Construction on the project started in April 2021, and work was completed in March 2023, according to Southwest Development and Design Director Madison Galan.

During construction, some slight changes were made to hallway spaces at the community, but no major shifts in design were needed once shovels hit the ground.

“The designers helped it all come together by creating aesthetically pleasing spaces while giving future residents the lifestyle they seek in that next stage of life,” Galan said.

One of the challenges was noise reduction due to the density of Scottsdale’s surrounding Old Town neighborhood, which has popular restaurants and shops, along with access to nearby parks and botanical gardens, Galan said.

In procuring supplies for interior design, certain finishes and materials were swapped out depending on pricing and availability, McComb said.

“Nailing the entry way in terms of coordination and getting it to look as intended was a challenge,” McComb said.

In the end, the 171,500 square-foot community stayed on budget at $29 million.

The Completion

The project was completed in 2023. Active adult and multifamily giant Greystar currently operates the community.

The community’s amenities include a great room, private movie theater, yoga studio, meeting rooms, game room, coffee bar, cafe and outdoor amenities include a putting green and pickleball courts. The different areas are themed under names such as the “Reel Room,” “Namaste,” and “Cork” for flair.

Overture Arcadia is now a new home for residents looking for maintenance-free living as they age, with the community “doing really well” in terms of ongoing lease-up, McComb said.

“It feels like it’s more of a resort when you’re walking in and not just dark colors you see in some common southwest design,” McComb said.

Once residents moved in, McComb said when she visited the community there were residents using the communal and lobby spaces.

“We were thrilled to see them playing cards or chatting in the main lobby,” McComb said. “Residents were so excited about the space and how beautiful it was compared to some of the places they had moved from— They were absolutely thrilled with it.”

Merlino Design Partnership President Bruce Hurowitz noted in his judge’s commentary that the Overture Arcadia was, “well coordinated design in keeping with the architectural vernacular and surrounding areas” of Scottsdale.

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