Ever evolving, constantly changing, trends help define practices and give insight into the future of industries. Thanks to COVID, the development and adoption of trends has entered an accelerated pace, with many different industries undergoing extreme shifts in direction. While not as strong as when the pandemic first hit, senior design trends in 2022 continue to evolve, both due to the concerns of leaders at the top and the changing desires of the seniors themselves.
This week, on the DesignWell Podcast, I am joined by Natalie Ruiz from Callison RTKL, Walter Marin from Marin Architects, Shannon O’Kelley from Pininfarina and Tom Pflueger from MBH Architects. As four experts in the field of senior design, they discuss the current trends affecting senior living space and how their firms are tackling these priorities.
Design Focus Shifts to Outdoor Spaces, Community and More
Of the trends we chatted about, the experts agreed: outdoor spaces are becoming an absolute must in designing senior living spaces. Pflueger highlighted a recent affordable senior housing project his team undertook, while Marin drew from his experience in designing outdoor spaces in urban settings. “We have a saying in our office nowadays, and that is roofs are no longer just for holding water,” Marin said. If there’s going to be multiple people gathering in a space, they said, the safest way to do it is in the open air.
Community building, too, has become a core focus in many senior living designs. “How can we blur those connections [between seniors and neighborhoods] and have more connections to the community?” Ruiz asks, relating back to an increasing tendency for seniors to feel isolated in their living conditions. For her, she sees this trend as about figuring out a way to leverage adjoining neighborhoods and businesses to expand upon the local community itself.
Plfueger also noted the ongoing struggle with visitation and hosting families and loved ones in facilities. Here, he sees common areas and visiting spaces opening up into more of a living room feeling to be more accommodating for visitations.
There’s plenty to talk about, including how new technologies and regulations are making potential inroads to forever shake up the space, so make sure to tune in as these architects and designers dive deep into the shape of senior living design for 2022.