A Talk With Searstone’s Architect
The Highview expansion is officially underway, opening in 2024. Our team of designers is working round the clock to ensure this expansion will be spectacular — and to convey just how spectacular, we caught up with the lead architect on the project.
It was top of mind for Dana Conners, senior living architect for 20 years, to bring connectivity to Searstone and create shared spaces for residents to gather.
Find out how his strategic designs are being carefully executed in order to offer a space that will please current and new residents alike.
What was the inspiration or influence for designing The Highview and what was your team’s approach to bringing it to life?
Searstone currently has a palace-style look and feel. Without taking anything away from the original design, it was our goal to make The Highview a little softer and enhance its French Provincial style. We wanted to adapt the atmosphere to make it more comfortable for the residents who live here, as opposed to focusing on the impact it has when someone drives up to it. For that reason, we are sticking with a more French cottage theme, with garden areas and outdoor spaces. The plans introduce windows that will be added onto the face of the building, allowing natural light to enter.
It was also important to update the campus to encourage residents to walk outside. Some residents found it difficult to walk all around the campus due to lack of pathways. We will be adding common areas and ensuring there is a lot of meaningful green space for residents to spend time together and enjoy nature.
What was your experience working with the Searstone team/landscape architect/engineers?
The team is made up of very talented individuals with a world of experience, with each person bringing different strengths and insights to the table. We’re all collaborating very well together and agreeing on the common goal of creating a community where residents can live in a high dignity environment.
How did you keep residents in mind while working on the design?
We met with Searstone’s executive team as well as a Resident Committee who was responsible to represent the resident body. They brought feedback and ideas that they’ve heard over the years to help us understand more about what they liked and what they were interested in. And we were open to listen, soaking in as much information as we could.
We spent two days straight at the community, getting a feel for the environment and the people, and speaking with residents about their own personal experiences. From there, we took these ideas, sketched them out and got to work. We focused on every small detail of Searstone, working on site planning, parking, apartment sizes, floor plans, and even finishes.
While it was challenging at times to take the feedback from so many residents into consideration, overall we took a ‘how would you want to live’ approach when creating architectural designs.
Beyond the Highview building, what other updates are you making throughout the existing campus?
There wasn’t a lot planned for the Winston Clubhouse originally but our plans are to make some changes to keep it cohesive with the rest of the community. Residents desire a campus where they could easily walk around, so we’ll make the Clubhouse accessible from the Highview via an indoor walkway. This accessibility provides choices and allows residents to gather in various common areas. Another example is the addition of a physical therapy space in Winston Clubhouse, so residents don’t always have to go to Brittany Place for their rehabilitation.
Brittany Place also got a full makeover, and will provide a total of 91 private suites for Assisted Living, Memory Care and Skilled Nursing & Rehab. These suites are only reserved for Searstone residents.
We’ll also be making a lot of general updates that are necessary, such as finishes and touches to ensure there was an even flow throughout. We will repurpose some spaces and add amenities such as an expanded beauty salon and fitness area, as well as theaters and a lecture space.
It’s been a long process of analysis, creative thinking, and maneuvering different ideas. Overall, what was top of mind was, ‘what will residents want?’ We hope when it’s all done, residents are left with a good reflection of the Searstone values and culture.
The Highview at Searstone is a four-story expansion that will feature 152 elegant, modern residences featuring scenic views, ample light, attractive fixtures and appliances and many upgrade options. It’s the future of senior living with a brand new, well-thought-out design build and endless amenities.
There are also several different floor plans for you to choose from based on what will work best for you, including 1-bedroom, 1-bedroom with den, 2-bedroom and 2-bedroom with den.
The Highview will offer walkability for easy pedestrian access to all of the community’s amenities, with the exciting neighborhood of Cary accessible just beyond the walls. At The Highview, you’ll be immersed in an active lifestyle full of opportunity, with all you need conveniently located just steps from your front door. Find out if it’s right for your future.