On a press tour of Appleby Blue, a new social housing scheme (or almshouse) for older people in South London, U.K., many of us journalists ask when we can move in. And we’re only half-joking. There’s a roof terrace replete with seating nooks; generous use of warm timber and brick; a sun-filled central courtyard with gingko trees and a serene water feature; and a glazed, terracotta-tiled walkway on each floor that features seating, plants and windows that open to let in sun and fresh air. In fact, apart from the walk-in showers, wheelchair access and alarm service — all designed to ensure it can safely cater to residents’ changing physical and cognitive needs — Appleby Blue is not only the opposite of an institutional building but also…

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