Though many in China choose to forget much of the Cultural Revolution, architects Atelier Alter have used lessons from the period to inspire the design for a senior's home in the city of Nanning. People of retirement age in China grew up during the Cultural Revolution, during which they were taught the value of communal agrarian living. Community and the natural world became the inspiration for the Nanning retirement home, which provides residents with easy access to the outdoors and plenty of space to gather. Atelier Alter says the home aims to provide "a sense of belonging in an era of uncertainty" for the residents.
Located on the outskirts of Nanning, the center has escaped the dense urban environment of the Chinese city and is anchored in the natural world. In contrast to the tall, tightly packed buildings in Nanning’s centre, the retirement home is only a few stories high, with open space on all sides. This low construction allows residents easy access to the greenery and gardens which surround the property.
The retirement center unfolds from sloping ground so that the basement opens to ground level gardens at the back. Large communal areas on the lower floors provide sports facilities and meeting areas for the residents while upper floors are dedicated to living space. Wood grain vertical aluminum louvres are used as window coverings to create light and views that recall the atmosphere inside a traditional bamboo hut.