© Pieter Kers

Building Life Cycles: Rethinking the Architecture of Aging

Eric Baldwin Eric Baldwin

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The design world needs to rethink elderly architecture. Today, the vast majority of countries have a higher proportion of older citizens than young people. Architects and planners must begin moving beyond end-of-life care and nursing facilities to consider the new design challenges posed by aging adults who desire active, interconnected lifestyles. Embracing networks of family and community, a new generation of elderly adults are looking to maintain independence and freedom through mobility, self-governance and third spaces.

Exploring relationships between the built environment and human longevity, the following collection examines contemporary architecture designed for elderly adults. Featuring a range of programs and typologies, the projects each take a different look at how evolving age trends will dramatically shape our future. Together, they begin to reveal how designers can begin building new life cycles and rethink the architecture of aging.

© Guedes Cruz Architects

© Guedes Cruz Architects

Social Complex in Alcabideche by Guedes Cruz Arquitectos, Alcabideche, Portugal

Guedes Cruz’s Social Complex was created as a housing development by the Fundação Social do Quadro Bancário to fill a gap in elderly support systems. Sited within the metropolitan area of Lisbon, the design aimed to reconstitute a Mediterranean lifestyle in which outdoor spaces serve as an extension of residences and homes.

© LEVS architecten

© LEVS architecten

© LEVS architecten

© LEVS architecten

Kaleidoscope by LEVS architecten, Nieuwkoop, The Netherlands

The Kaleidoskoop (Kaleidoscope) project was made to combine residential, health and cultural facilities to enhance the viability of the village. Centered around the Kulturhus (a house of culture), the project encourages the mixing of residents as an open, publicly accessible building.

© Peter Bennetts

© Peter Bennetts

© Peter Bennetts

© Peter Bennetts

Walumba Elders Centre by Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects, Warmun, Australia

The Walumba Centre was built to serve the remote Aboriginal Community of Warrmarn as a focal point that brings people together. Providing both self-care and high-level care to residents, the project rises above the natural ground level as a kind of conceptual bridge between generations.

© BCQ arquitectura barcelona

© BCQ arquitectura barcelona

© BCQ arquitectura barcelona

© BCQ arquitectura barcelona

Day Centre For The Elderlyby BCQ arquitectura barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

The project’s main aim is to create a pleasant building for senior citizens, a space where they feel comfortable and one they can identify with. The construction materials and finishes used are therefore familiar, warm and comfortable, such as ceramic and wood, to create a homely, relaxed atmosphere.

© Atelier Alter Architects

© Atelier Alter Architects

© Atelier Alter Architects

© Atelier Alter Architects

Senior Center of Guangxiby Atelier Alter, Nanning, China

The architecture of the Guangxi senior center departs from the humanistic aspect of the project. The design creates a space for retirees who spent most of their youth in the Cultural Revolution. The sense of belonging in an era of uncertainty offers a critique to the isolation and apathy of modernity.

© Pieter Kers

© Pieter Kers

© Pieter Kers

© Pieter Kers

Het Prieel by Borren Staalenhoef Architects, Naarden, Netherlands

The Het Prieel was made as a small, delicate pavilion financed with crowdfunding. The non-religious space is an area for contemplation and conversation outside the “hospital” wall and a joyful object for the community.

© Fotografia Maciej Lulko

© Fotografia Maciej Lulko

© Fotografia Maciej Lulko

© Fotografia Maciej Lulko

Elderly Healthcare and Residential Building by NA NO WO architekci, Leszno, Poland

This project involved the restoration and extension of three of the former farm buildings on the Leszczynski Antoniny manor and a construction of one new building, in order to convert it into a healthcare and residential building complex dedicated for elderly people. The complex includes a rehabilitation center which provides care and medical services and is supported by hotel and catering facilities, cultural events, an underground carpark and all infrastructure needs.

© Hermann&Valentiny and Partners

© Hermann&Valentiny and Partners

© Hermann&Valentiny and Partners

© Hermann&Valentiny and Partners

Senior Citizens Centre by Hermann & Valentiny and Partners, Heisdorf, Luxembourg

The old castle of Heisdorf, situated in a park with marvelous mature trees, has undergone numerous alterations (extensions) since it was first built in the 19th century. This design renovates the historic building fabric of the castle with large glazed loggias (known as “curiosities”) facing in the direction of the castle to accommodate space for senior citizens.

© Manuel Ocaña del Valle

© Manuel Ocaña del Valle

© Manuel Ocaña del Valle

© Manuel Ocaña del Valle

Santa Rita Geriatric Centreby Manuel Ocaña del Valle, Ciutadella de Menorca, Spain

Geriatric centers should be optimistic places appealing to live in or to visit. This project was designed to create a characteristic atmosphere in a vital space where spare time prevails and design ensures total accessibility, physical autonomy, psychical security and respect to individual privacy.

© HWKN Architecture D.P.C.

© HWKN Architecture D.P.C.

© HWKN Architecture D.P.C.

© HWKN Architecture D.P.C.

Skyler: A New Aging Tower by Hollwich Kushner (HWKN)

Designed as a new building prototype enabling users to age in one place, Skyler encapsulates a cross section of society. Created as a structure where residents can live from birth to old age in one building comprised of over 600 residential units and tailored amenities. Read our in-depth feature on the project here.

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© Jaime rrio

Caravanserai // Lai Cheong Brown

French Island, Australia

© Julien Lanoo

Town Hall St-Jacques-de-la-Lande // LAN Architecture

Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande, France

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