Phoenix Commons

The Phoenix Commons project is a 40-unit senior housing co-op project
that aims to create a meaningful and rich sense of community and social
interaction among residents. The project is a unique endeavor that
combines several new and innovative solutions for housing the elderly with
proven, successful cooperative housing solutions.
The design and programming intent of this sleek modern high-rise structure
is to create a building and community for seniors who might otherwise face
isolation in non-senior friendly apartments leading to costly long-term
medical needs. The project was planned with a team of senior living
experts, who knew it was time to provide Bay Area seniors an alternative
housing type (common in Scandinavian countries) that is grounded in self-
sufficiency, sustainability (both economically and environmentally) and the
ability to age gracefully.
Each resident or couple has their own apartment, with a common design of
simple, spacious, open and easy to manage spaces. All entry doors are
located along open-air covered walkways, which branch off of elevator
bays and stairways. This creates natural interaction and meet up
opportunities. There are also numerous outdoor and indoor communal
seating areas, as well a large professional kitchen for shared meals, a gym,
a lap pool, office style spaces and a media room. Each resident is a part of

the community, joining planning committees, taking on chores, and helping
one another.
The building site is truly crammed in between a busy bridge and roadway,
and a pre-existing housing development. The entire front façade parallels
the estuary, offering beautiful scenery of boaters and wildlife. A broad flat
walking path begins at Phoenix Commons and extends along the
waterfront. And Park Street in Alameda, with plenty of shops and
restaurants is just a few blocks away. From a design perspective it offered
an equal dose of challenges and opportunities.
By forming a community that fosters close relationships and constructing a
building that enhances community and meets the needs of advanced age,
Phoenix Commons helps seniors avoid institutionalization and expensive
government sponsored services. Northern Europe has a long tradition of
elder cooperative living that shows the remarkable power and advantage of
this housing solution. This project is designed to allow seniors 65 years and
older to age in a place that is comprised of like-minded individuals who are
dedicated to assisting each other. Seniors require a different kind of
housing that allows them to live in an environment that fosters both
independence and inter-connectedness.