The Summit at Central Park

Grand Prairie, Texas
Construction Cost: $18.8 million
Area / Square Feet: 56,541
Occupancy Date: May 2010

The Summit at Central Park responds to the emerging set of younger, more active Baby Boomers while continuing to serve the members of the older generation — those in their late 60s and above — who have different interests and abilities. The 50-and-over facility is part of a larger $100 million project known as Central Park. Finding that many public recreation centers catering to older adults still project a geriatric atmosphere and that most multigenerational facilities fail to provide environments that older adults feel comfortable embracing, the recreation department and design team looked more toward private-sector models, such as country clubs and resorts.

The Summit essentially creates two distinct, albeit connected, environments. One side, with its own secondary entrance, houses facilities for more athletically inclined adults, while the other side caters to less active activities, offering craft and game rooms, a pottery center, a teaching kitchen, an 88-seat movie theater, a café and ballrooms.

The building also reflects numerous green strategies. The site presented a solar-orientation challenge, which was solved through the use of dramatic shade structures that also provide a unifying architectural signature to the project.