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Enjoy the twilight of life: the story of an old-age home near Baroda

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on 15 days ago

© Courtesy of stARCH Design Spectrum, Vadodara / Pics: Tejas Shah, Vadodara

Wrinkles mean you laughed, grey hairs mean you cared, and scars mean you lived. A life well lived deserves a calm, restful, and tranquil home to spend the sunset years. It is this vision that led to the creation of a luxurious old-age home just about 22 kms from Vadodara.

The dream dreamt by Mr. J.C. Kathrani was then given the shape of reality by Vadodara-based stARCH Design Spectrum co-owned by architects Tanuj and Sonali Desai.

The project of this old-age home was commissioned to stARCH, quite by a stroke of destiny. “My father Mr. Tapasvi Desai had visited a school for disabled children, which is run by Mr. Kathrani,” recalls Tanuj. “They both got talking, and that is when the idea of the old-age home came up. The concept was to create a home where seniors could ‘rewind life’, a place where they would spend their days with like-minded people who would provide them with social and emotional support necessary at that stage of life.”

© Courtesy of stARCH Design Spectrum, Vadodara / Pics: Tejas Shah, Vadodara
© Courtesy of stARCH Design Spectrum, Vadodara / Pics: Tejas Shah, Vadodara

The concept was initiated in 2014 by Mallikarjun Mahadev Charitable Trust, and it was decided that the old-age facility would come up in the same premises where the ISO-certified Anmol Residential School for the Mentally Challenged is located.

© Courtesy of stARCH Design Spectrum, Vadodara / Pics: Tejas Shah, Vadodara

“The client brief was succinct: they wanted a luxurious, care-free and comfortable living environment for all the senior citizens who chose to make their home with them. We were very keen to help convert this noble dream into a reality, and ideated extensively on the plans and landscape,” says Tanuj. “Our clients were thrilled when we presented them with seven alternate ideas that kept in mind all the minute requirements that had been listed down,” adds Sonali.

© Courtesy of stARCH Design Spectrum, Vadodara / Pics: Tejas Shah, Vadodara

The clients – Mr. J C Kathrani and his wife Hansa - immediately shortlisted the layout and ideas they liked, and got the designing duo to tweak them to suitably fit the plot that spanned 1 lakh square feet. Work kicked off in earnest in the first quarter of 2016. With all the requirements in mind, the total plinth area came up to 28,000 square feet, with the superstructure coming up in just one year – by the beginning of 2017.

© Courtesy of stARCH Design Spectrum, Vadodara / Pics: Tejas Shah, Vadodara

“By then, the client had new requirements; they wanted us to add four staff quarters to accommodate people who would be stationed on the site 24X7 and would take care of all the amenities while providing support,” Sonali details.

© Courtesy of stARCH Design Spectrum, Vadodara / Pics: Tejas Shah, Vadodara

The structure includes living areas such as furnished deluxe and standard rooms, and also has a series of shared amenities that foster the spirit of community living. Recreational facilities include a games room with indoor games such as chess, cards, and darts, a well-stocked library, and an audio-visual hall. Fitness areas include a badminton court, a gymnasium, massage room, and physiotherapy room.

© Courtesy of stARCH Design Spectrum, Vadodara / Pics: Tejas Shah, Vadodara

“We, as designers, were clear that the layout should encourage the senior residents to bond together, and not be isolated. That is why we decided on a common audio-visual areaas opposed to a TV set in every room, which is the norm these days,” Tanuj says.

© Courtesy of stARCH Design Spectrum, Vadodara

Sonali agrees, stating that the intent was always to promote camaraderie among people who were staying away from their families, to ensure that they create a new family here. “We have a huge dining room, which is common and accessible to all the people. Prayer and meditation rooms are also designed into the premises,” she says. The state-of-the-art kitchen is where all the meals and snacks are prepared; they are served in the adjoining dining room. “The kitchen can, apart from the residents, also cater to their family and friends.

© Courtesy of stARCH Design Spectrum, Vadodara

The main courtyard – with the badminton court on one side and the sit out on the other – offers ample open space for them to spend time in the open,” Tanuj says. There are three other courtyards and a small sit out carved out for each room (facing the main courtyard). “Seasonal trees create the perfect outdoor space that invites people to spend time outdoors in all weathers,” Sonali says.

© Courtesy of stARCH Design Spectrum, Vadodara / Pics: Tejas Shah, Vadodara

Care has been taken to ensure that the design and execution are senior-friendly. The building only has a ground floor, ruling out the difficulties of maneuvering staircases. Every square inch of the floor area is anti-skid; there are plenty of grab bars, and adequate ramps to take care of wheelchair movement.

“There’s a doctor’s room with examination facilities to ensure that medical help is always at hand,” the designers say, adding that they were given a free hand by the client, be it for the design elements, the selection, the processes or the finishes. “We had total freedom, and that made it a bigger responsibility to deliver a product that matched the client’s vision,’ says Tanuj.

© Courtesy of stARCH Design Spectrum, Vadodara / Pics: Tejas Shah, Vadodara

The project was completed in 2018, and Tanuj and Sonali are glad that they could – through their design skills – turn an empty space into a welcoming home for the people in the sunset of their life.

© Courtesy of stARCH Design Spectrum, Vadodara / Pics: Tejas Shah, Vadodara

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