Under the Poor Laws in England and Wales, the infirm elderly are classed as "the impotent poor," and some are housed in almshouses or poorhouses.
Les Invalides in Paris and the Christopher Wren-designed Royal Hospital Chelsea (1681) in London are established to care for old and injured soldiers.
The Mirabella, Portland, Ore. (Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects; client: Pacific Retirement Services; under construction) This 30-story CCRC tower will have only eight units per floor and will feature, around its base, a full spa/fitness center, a café, a library, and a computer center.
It is expected to achieve LEED Platinum. Living here won't come cheap though: Entry fees approach $700,000.
Institutionalization of elderly care has become the norm. The William Enston Home in Charleston, S.C., is an early model for a planned retirement community.
Querencia at Barton Creek, Austin, Texas (CSD; client: Senior Quality Lifestyles Corp.; completed June 2007)
The master-planned 38-acre Querencia campus, just outside Austin's city limits, includes 10 cottage duplexes, 150 independent living units, 40 assisted living units, 40 units for skilled nursing, and 20 for memory support.
Parkview Terrace, San Francisco (Kwan Henmi Architecture/Planning and Fougeron Architecture; client: AF Evans/Chinatown Community Development Center; completed March 2008)
This 98,000-squarefoot project brings 101 affordable apartments for seniors to San Francisco, a few blocks away from the city's Civic Center. Natural light bathes the lobby and the small living units, 40 percent of which are handicapped accessible and all of which can be adapted as residents' needs change.
Leonard Florence Center for Living, Chelsea, Mass. (DiMella Shaffer; client: Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home; on the boards) Slated to break ground this month, Leonard Florence will be the nation's first urban Green House community, based on the model devised by physician William Thomas. The basic model, which is flexible and can be produced on any scale, stipulates a homelike environment with six to 10 private rooms situated around an open kitchen and dining area.