By 2030, it is expected that one in four Canadians will be a senior. An increasing number of elders want to live in a space that makes them feel independent and autonomous, leaving it up to architects to consider a less institutionalized way of building those spaces. Montreal-based firm ACDF Architecture proposes a solution with a 30-storey retirement complex.

That project – the Panorama tower – rises above the picturesque banks of Rivière des Prairies. It includes 206 apartments, 48 condominiums and a 32-room patient care unit, integrated into the tower’s two-storey podium.

We wanted to avoid the trap of institutional designs

Panorama’s exterior creates a game of visual illusions, by way of precast concrete panels in three different shades. Accessible and unpretentious, the tower’s interiors contrast the façade’s sharp, rectangular appearance with rounded corners and furnishing made out of soft fabric. A particularly innovative, communal area is the podium. That’s where generous offering of common spaces and amenities come together: there’s a pool, spa, gym, yoga classroom, coffee shop and library.

‘We wanted to avoid the trap of institutional designs,’ explains Maxime Frappier, the project’s director. ‘The challenge was to build an eye-catching signature tower through a quiet approach in terms of massing, financial structuring and architectural strategies. With Panorama, we have built a warm and welcoming environment for autonomous, sophisticated seniors.’