The town of Novato, north of San Francisco, wanted to develop two large parcels of land into a senior housing community. The residents of Novato, of course, did not want the land developed, fearing it would densify and suburbanize their sleepy waterside community.

Our scheme proposes developing the land as a community winery that would tie the new residents into the larger group through shared agricultural space. This sustainable viticulture development would refocus the community away from the waterways (which dried up years ago) and provide a long term economic engine for the city to offset the cost of development.

Mixed into the winery would be a series of community gardens, nature trails, and picnic areas for all of the residents of Novato. As senior housing, the units themselves are specifically designed for “aging in place” – the practice of allowing the elderly to remain in their homes as they age through design. Each home is small. Single bedroom homes are all wheelchair accessible. Units on the downslope have an auxiliary unit below that can be rented for income, used by long-term care employees, or be the home to visiting family members. Each has a separate exterior entrance with the future option of adding an internal connecting stair.

The community center would serve wine processing and sales, as well as house a small market, guest visiting rooms, and gathering spaces.