The goal of The Cottages of Tucson is to provide affordable, state-of-the-art dementia care for residents in cottages with strong connections to the outdoors. An established residential community to the west reinforces the residential feel of the campus. The cottages form a courtyard to allow residents to choose where to go safely, and the architecture recalls traditional residential forms common to this area. Residents can walk in the garden to sit near flowers, visit other cottages, or participate in organized activities in patios grouped around a colorful glass mobile at the center of the project. Memory care can be extremely expensive for families, and this project seeks to provide an affordable option in a home-like setting which emphasizes access to nature, natural light, and good care. Dementia is such a difficult disease for residents and families, and the financial burden of providing good care for loved ones is a key challenge in treatment.
Each Common Room accommodates living and dining with separate spaces for more intimate conversations with family. The interior palette for each cottage is inspired by desert plants and birds. One Common Room takes its cue from the purple fruit of the prickly pear cactus and the colors of the Mexican cardinal, both common to the Sonoran Desert.
Corridors include memory boxes for wayfinding. The common room provides a place for family members to get a break from being in the resident’s room and to talk with caregivers and counselors. The project focuses inward on the garden which is lush and inviting. Native, non-toxic plants are used throughout, and the colors and artwork carry through to the interior spaces to help residents identify their cottage.
Resident rooms are simple with generous views to the garden and space for a recliner if a family member needs to stay overnight. Most rooms are private. All bathing and toileting are assisted in a central core of larger personal care rooms to mitigate against falls.
The Common Room is used for both dining and daily living activities. There are several smaller groups of living room furniture, and resident tables are arranged for smaller group dining and family meals. The Common Room is also used for both dining and staff activities. There is a small residential-style serving kitchen in each cottage, and a staff desk in a recessed niche.