Harmonia Retirement House

The Harmonia House is a combined private home for seniors and civic facility, designed and built between 2007 and 2010 in the west side of Timisoara. The area is a residential one and it has other social facilities; close by there is the Rudolf Walter centre for orphans and children with disabilities. The Harmonia House is a linear and rhythmic composition, along an important street that connects the city with the “Plopi” residential district. The entire area has lots of green surfaces and it enjoys the proximity of the Bega river. According to the program theme asked by the private investor we generated a mixed used composed by an open social part and a private addressed to elderly people. The social and entertainment space – the multipurpose hall- is addressed for wedding and baptize parties and also other events. The annual ball of the chamber of architects happened there in 2010. The other, more private part of the ensemble, is addressed to third age people (seniors) who rent the apartments. They have also a little SPA, club spaces, restaurant and a chapel. It is a speculative investment, but during the short period of function (one year) Harmonia House became a public address. It is not a health care facility type but a hotel type with a certain potential for social interaction between the occupants of the apartments. The loggias have the purpose to generate places for dialogues, play and work together. The generous kitchen is calibrated in order to sustain simultaneously an event and the everyday meals of the occupants of the apartments. There are also a lot of facilities for them: hairdresser, barber and manicure services, medical assistance, a laundry and a drying room. The tenants are serviced by a number of assistants. The House is developing its program and activities in order to be attractive and to become a social alternative to the common tradition in Romania, that of coexistence of generations in the same house. The problem of the third age is a challenge for the owners of the Harmonia House and the choice to stay there of some personalities (the former governor of Danube Delta, a former senator in the Parliament, etc.) became very interesting from a social and cultural point of view. The two story height, the rhythm of the loggias and the main dominant as an extended stone base of the ground floor are the distinct features of this horizontal ensemble at a first glance. The ensemble is defined by a variety of threshold and intermediary areas, that give a specific nature to this ensemble like the intermediary spaces that mediate the interior – exterior relationships from the access area –the interior courtyard, the interior garden adjoining the multifunctional space or the balconies that gather around them three accommodation modules, thus becoming “open air rooms” –socializing places. The multifunctional room, the chapel and the SPA space sheltering the pool are three bench-mark points inside the ensemble; the multifunctional space has a large enough capacity (280 sqm) to permit events such as conferences, parties, etc., the SPA space is in a direct relation with the most private area of the ensemble, towards the south, connected with the garden through the terrace and, finally, the chapel is a spatial cube, a silent space, withdrawn inside this ensemble. The friendly scale of the spaces is completed by the “temperature” of the materials that were chosen: exotic wood in the intermediary spaces, the wooden parquet and the wooden ceiling from the multifunctional space, the wood confection forming screens meant to protect and to define more clearly the balconies as exterior rooms; stone on the exterior; in time, ivy will slowly clime on it just like in the case of the balconies mentioned above; big sandstone slabs in the hall and the reception area. The stone on the floor and on the east wall of the chapel becomes a “precious textile” that vibrates in the morning light (on the floor) and dawn (on the “altar” wall). The ensemble accommodates 82 rooms, a built area of 2 200 sqm and a total floor area of 5 100 sqm and its estimate value was around 3 million euros.

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