By Jennie Lee, Dalman Architecture

As the baby boomer generation enters retirement, a new form of retirement living is evolving.

The boomer generation is staying fit, healthy and mobile for longer than ever before. This generation is technologically savvy, independent, socially active, professionally or technically educated, well-travelled and enjoys cultural activities.

Boomers have high expectations of the places where they live and the lifestyle they lead in their golden years. Instead of institutional type lodgings, retirement villages are catering for this discerning generation through country club style living such as The Russley Village in Christchurch.

Today’s retirement villages are integrated communities where every aspect of design is considered. They feature attractive, well detailed architecture set in carefully designed landscaping.

A variety of modern, large, interior spaces are finished with high quality fixtures and fittings. They offer a variety of housing types and care options, from fully independent living to serviced apartments and hospital care, with the level of support tailored to suit each individual resident’s needs and lifestyle.

Most retirement villages will offer stand-alone, self-contained villas for independent living. At The Russley Village a large assortment of different two and three-bedroom floor plans were designed, rather than the limited options traditionally offered.

The Russley villas have a variety of architectural forms and detailing, so each villa appears individually crafted. The position of each villa on the site was carefully considered to provide private gardens, as well as a variety of interesting outlooks and streetscapes.

Apartment buildings are a relatively new concept for retirement living in Christchurch however, they are growing more popular and are a good choice for residents who enjoy travelling.

These easy care, ‘lock-up and leave’ properties give residents peace of mind that their homes are secure while they are away. Most villages have a high level of security with access control, alarm systems and gates that automatically shut after hours.

At the heart of the contemporary village are community facilities which cater for active and social residents. The Russley Village is focused around ‘The Homestead’ – a community centre which provides a range of public spaces including a café, restaurant, bar, lounge, cinema, library, computer room, craft room and billiards room.

A hair salon and therapy rooms provide for health and wellness services. The community spaces are carefully designed to provide flexibility and can accommodate large functions or small, intimate gatherings.

The spaces can be used by residents for hobbies, music, seminars and recreation or private functions, and are a popular place to meet friends and family for a coffee or an evening meal.

Landscaping and outdoor recreation areas are an important part of the village townscape.

Private and public gardens, barbecue areas, public terraces and recreation spaces such as bowling greens and pétanque courts provide opportunities for leisure activities and social interaction, and contribute to the overall visual appeal of the village.

The Russley’s gardens are award winning and the outdoor spaces link to the buildings and each other to form an interconnected network through the village.

With all these facilities and services contained within the village, residents have everything they need on site. This is particularly useful for residents with transportation or mobility concerns.

Article provided by Jennie Lee, an ANZIA registered architect from Dalman Architecture.

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