Today in the midst of a global pandemic, WELL Building Standards have never been more important. But as designers of housing for fragile and sensitive populations – Senior Apartments, Independent Living facilities, Assisted Care and Memory Care – the onus is on us to look beyond them, toward designing spaces that take into consideration the differing levels of need at each facility type and that maximize wellness in the face of current and future constraints.
It’s what’s been on our mind at COG for the past three months; back-burner musings that have turned into a passionate initiative designing for the world’s “new normal.” We’re propelled by a fundamental question: How can architecture influence, for the better, the lives of senior housing occupants?
Our focus has always been on the needs of our senior residents: their security & safety, health and wellbeing, and community. However, the virus and society’s efforts to contain it propose major challenges to all these things for seniors – and for us in designing for them. How, we wonder, will we balance managing risk and facilitating preparedness with the need for beautiful, inspiring spaces? We don’t build government offices or hospitals. We build places to live life on all levels.
To work through these issues, we’ve put together a list of ways we are re-tooling our design thinking to build better, more safely and more beautifully for our senior residents.