Fall 2012 - Spring 2013 — Design Narrative

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Denise, a junior citizen.

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Eli, a senior citizen.

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Welcome to the Asser Levy Recreation Center, a highly designed space that brings junior and senior citizens together.

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The Junior entryway can be accessed by both stairs and slides, which also serve as handicap-friendly ramps.

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The Senior entryway is equipped with stairs, an escalator, and a wheelchair lift for the handicapped or the weary.

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The “Living Wall” in the lobby provokes curiosity and creates a joint opportunity for junior and senior citizens to care for fish.

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Eli and Denise are buddies, and together they share custody of a goldfish. They use a device that looks curiously like a walking stick to feed their fish. The device makes it easier for them to access hard-to-reach tanks.

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Eli and Denise say goodbye to their fish before leaving the "Fish Wall".

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The walls of the lobby are clad with slate, and studded with small water dispensers that allow Denise and Eli to make water drawings on the wall using paintbrushes that hang from tracks on the ceiling. These ephemeral drawings - once a pastime of Ancient Chinese poets - serve as a reminder of the transience of life, and help Eli and Denise appreciate their time together.

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An exploded axon showing the breakdown of the central space in the Asser Levy Recreation Center.

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The Sky Library on the upper level can be accessed with a special stairway.

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Eli and Denise want to return a book and borrow a new one for the day. They are both needed to operate a device that transports books from floor to floor.

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Denise can choose to go down into the Storytelling Room on the fire pole, while Eli rests his legs by taking the wheelchair lift.

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A slide also takes able-bodied citizens down from the Sky Library to the Storytelling Room. As soon as the slide lights up in green, Denise knows that it is safe for her to jump in.

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The slide weaves through the dining room next door. The lights turn orange when the slide is fully occupied, making this mode of transportation very safe.

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While winding through the napping area may be fun, this section of the slide is enclosed in cork to muffle noise and give nappers some peace and quiet.

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Eli waits for Denise to emerge from the slide in the Storytelling Room, a plate of freshly baked cookies in his hand.

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The Storytelling Room under the sunlit Sky Library has both private and public areas. Little niches can be raised or lowered, creating little pockets of storytelling spaces.

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Denise sits in one of the specially designed rocking chairs and awaits her story.

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Created specifically for seniors to rock juniors during storytelling time, the rocking chairs successfully put everyone to sleep.

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Half an hour later, Denise and Eli decide to pursue a better nap downstairs, in the Napscape. They slowly make their way down the winding ramp, into a comfortably darkened underground room.

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In the Napscape, Denise and Eli are joined by another junior citizen. The pull down the dark canopy and lie on the softness of a reclining surface.

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They fall asleep quickly, and dream of lying on soft grass under a blanket of stars.

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The day has gone by so quickly! It's time to say goodbye to Denise and Eli, and look forward to a new day at the Asser Levy Recreation Center tomorrow.