The Trousdale

Architecture firm: SmithGroup

Owner: Peninsula Health Care District

Location: Burlingame, California

Category: Merit

The Peninsula Health Care District's (PHCD) mission is to ensure that residents of San Mateo County enjoy optimal health through education, prevention, and access to needed healthcare services. Healthcare districts such as PHCD are political subdivisions of the State of California that serve a defined geographic area. As a part of this responsibility, the Trousdale project was undertaken by PHCD to address the growing need for quality care among the aging population of the county.

Located at the corner of two prominent thoroughfares in Burlingame, California, this assisted living and memory care facility is designed to be flexible, contextual, vibrant, and focused on the local community. The six-story residence comprises 101 assisted living and 24 memory care units designed to give the District and Eskaton, its operator, the ability to change the unit mix based on future market demand.

To invest in the well-being of The Trousdale residents, the building employs various design elements that provide transparency and a connection to the urban community. Amenities include a community room, learning center, multiple dining venues, cafe, wellness center, clinics, and activity rooms. Large windows, terraces, and balconies help connect residents to the greater Peninsula neighborhood. A bistro-style café for residents and their guests occupies a prominent street-level corner, easily visible to passersby. From the front entry, views extend through the lobby to an attractive courtyard with a built-in barbecue, water feature, wellness area, and dog run, bringing activity into the center of the facility.

To accommodate residents in memory care, the urban context dictated that this program be placed on an upper floor with its own large terrace, limited corridors, and many open common spaces.

Unique features

The Trousdale incorporates numerous flexible design innovations that meet the owner's programmatic needs now and into the future. Opening with 125 units, the building was expanded to accommodate a maximum unit count of 136 units in the future. Both the unit mix and the function by floor are fully adaptable. Each floor can accommodate assisted living or memory care services with minor renovation, depending on changing market demand.

"The apartment conversions aspect can keep it valuable for a long time. Activity areas on each floor provide a sense of coming together." - Jury comment

The modular units can be joined in various combinations to create residences of different sizes and styles. With its various floor plan configurations, the project unit count can accommodate anywhere between 92 and 136 units. This standout feature required careful mechanical and plumbing planning, ensuring that modifying units requires only cosmetic changes and no mechanical labor. The flexibility of The Trousdale's design understands and adapts to the ever-changing, ever-aging healthcare market, offering The Trousdale and its residents the space they need to thrive.  

Design challenges

One of the biggest design challenges stemmed from the city of Burlingame's planning code. It required that 60%  of the building's street frontage have zero setback, meaning it had to go up to the sidewalk. There was little opportunity for massing changes on the facade, protrusions such as overhangs and sun shades were not possible, and there was limited room for planting. To overcome this, the design team worked with the city to lessen those requirements when possible and designed a new, more contextual and varied facade that was exactly 60% to the lot line.

One other design challenge was implementing the below-grade parking. Having below-grade parking meant that the parking and all of the structure attached had to line up with the spaces and units above. In addition, the surrounding seismic zone meant that there were a large number of shear walls at the building perimeter, further limiting massing changes and openings at the facades.

Additional information

Project attributes

Project site context/setting: Suburban

Is this project a LifePlan Community? No

Provider type: Non-sectarian non-profit

Target market: Middle income with some units reserved for low income

Project area - GSF of new construction: 139,209

Project area - GSF of additions: n/a

Project area - GSF of renovations: n/a

Project team

Engineer - civil: Sherwood Design Engineers

Engineer - MEP: Interface Engineering

Engineer - structural: Forell/Elesser

General Contractor: S.J. Amoroso

Interior Designer: SmithGroup

Landscape Architect: Royston Hanmoto Alley & Abey  


Quinn deMenna, AIA, Chair, City Invincible, Camden, New Jersey

Steve Leone, AIA, Spiezle Architectural Group, Inc., New York, NY

Steve Lindsey, Garden Spot Village, New Holland, Pennsylvania

Dean Maddalena, Studio Six5, Austin, TX

Rhonda Spector, 2Life Communities, Brighton, Massachusetts

Image credits

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