Senior CoHousing

The focus of this project was on daylighting design in senior housing.  The goal of this project was to integrate daylighting design best practices with precast concrete systems to create comfortable spaces for the elderly population.  This became the driving factor for all stages of the design phase, from the site planning to the building dimensions to the exterior shading details.

Starting with the site, issues of orientation were addressed in conjunction with typical site analysis.  The objectives for the site design were (as follows): to reduce impact on the ground, integrate with the existing site structures, create pedestrian friendly spaces, and orient buildings for taking advantage of daylighting.

All of the buildings were designed with consideration for the use of precast concrete panels.  Consideration was given to limiting the number of molds needed.  This also created a unifying element in the design of the condo buildings and multiplex buildings.  The various surface finishes for precast panels were also taken into consideration.  This provided the opportunity for a differentiation within the elevations of the buildings.

As this project was designed by the daylighting team, special consideration was given to the specific environments created by the building forms and materials.  The daylighting studies involved the use of the heliodon, the artificial sky, photometers, cameras, tilt table, and the program Ecotect.  Exterior shading devices, light shelves, material properties, and the effect of neighboring units were all studied and evaluated based on the impact on the direct solar and daylighting.  The overall goals were to provide well-distributed light, reduce issues of glare, and mitigate direct solar radiation.  Special consideration was given to the impact of neighboring units in the condo buildings.


Idea: Senior CoHousing and community support agriculture (CSA) farm community using precast concrete

Process: Integrative design process working with engineering students; focus on daylighting design

Location: Farmland east of New London, North Carolina


  • Modular condominium and multiplex components allow for a variety of spaces and efficient use of precast
  • Offset condominium units with different concrete finishes break up scale of overall building
  • Shifted units provide shade for neighboring units

My Contribution:

  • Daylighting analysis of designs, using EcoTect, Artificial sky, heliodon, turntables, and sundial
  • Teaching group about daylighting design concepts/best practices and explaining tools
  • Onsite analysis of reflectance of concrete samples
  • Using SketchUp to model iterations
  • Assisted with physical model making
  • Led site plan discussions/charette
  • My focus was on condominium buildings
1 site plan conceptual

Conceptual Site Plan – Aerial View

2 Soil Analysis

Soil Analysis

3 site plan perspective

Conceptual Site Plan – Perspective

4 model

Condominium Building Concept Model

5 Condiminium Units

Condominium Unit Configurations

6 Multiplex Drawings 7 daylighting model pic 1 8 daylighting model pic 2 9 daylighting model pic 3 10 Daylighting Studies ALL

What I Learned:

  • Precast concrete construction methods and finishes and what aspects to consider during design
  • How engineers think and approach buildings and how to communicate/collaborate with them

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