Waterford Retirement Residence, Ottawa

The Challenge

In 2017, the landmark Southway Hotel in Ottawa finished its transition into a new kind of destination for the local community. After decades of providing warm hospitality to travellers from Ottawa International Airport, the family-owned hotel closed its 170 guest rooms in 2016 and began redeveloping the property into the new Waterford Retirement Residence Ottawa. The Zlepnig family, which owned Southway and continues to own the Waterford Ottawa, wanted an architectural feature that would link the hotel’s existing building with its new design, as well as create a space that the Waterford’s residents had never seen before. For this, they turned to OpenAire.

The solution

OpenAire created a remarkable operable roof for the Waterford Retirement Residence's four-season heated courtyard, which bridges the property’s two eras and generations. The courtyard’s translucent, polycarbonate-paneled roof lets in ample sunlight whether open or closed, sheltering the courtyard’s gorgeous sensory garden, waterfall feature, seating areas and more. Measuring 41’ wide by 152’ long, the enclosure is supported by a unique truss system of aluminum and steel in an interchanging pattern.

The courtyard and its retractable roof exemplify the family ties, the dreams, and the community that made the Zlepnig family’s hotel so successful. The versatile enclosure provides vibrant recreation space to the Waterford Retirement Residence’s three “neighbourhoods” of residents: Independent Living, Birches Enhanced Care, and Windsong Memory Care. It also gives residents an outdoor-style experience that has never been seen before in a retirement residence.

In the words of Stephen Zlepnig, the facility’s owner, “The Waterford Ottawa is the only senior’s residence in North America with a fully enclosed, climate-controlled atrium with a retractable roof and tropical garden.” With a design this inviting, the courtyard is sure to reflect Southway Hotel’s legacy and build the Waterford Ottawa’s reputation as one of the city’s premier retirement communities.

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Waterford Retirement Residence

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