Christian Fussy explains a University Retirement Community

LBAbstract

Volume 5  |  June 2019

LBAbstract

Volume 5  |  June 2019

Christian Fussy explains the University-Based
Retirement Community

Principal, Senior Living Studio

Christian Fussy has over 20 years of international experience in the architectural profession working in all phases including programming, schematic design, design development, construction documents, and construction administration.

Christian, born and educated in Germany, has worked on complex projects in Europe, North America, South Africa, and the Far East. His diverse international experience includes a wide range of projects from single family to multi–family, hospitality and numerous Senior Living and Care campus programs. As a Lantz-Boggio team member for over 16 years, Christian’s experience with the design of Senior Living and Care Environments include Life Plan Communities, Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living, Independent Living and Special Care Environments. At LBA, Christian serves as Principal of the Senior Living Studio.

Based on the Boomer’s preference for individuality, I expect to see a rise in University-Based Retirement Communities. This is exciting for me personally, as I’ve seen the direct value of intergenerational communities at work in Germany.

“Young people inherently add dimension to the life of Senior residents while the Seniors add a positive effect on the college kids sharing their knowledge and wisdom that comes from a full life of experiences.”

Q: In what sector of Senior Living do you expect to see the most growth in the next few years?

A: One can’t talk about growth in the Senior Living industry without first mentioning the Baby Boomers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 National Population Projections, by 2030, all baby boomers will be older than age 65. We need to recognize that not only are there 70 million Boomers in the U.S. currently, but they are also not a homogeneous group. 

This population is extremely open to making a move to a Retirement Community as long as the move is for something better. They typically have the money and confidence to see their retirement as not the end of life, but a new beginning or a time to challenge themselves mentally and physically. They are looking for different Retirement models that fit this mentality.

Q: What is a University-Based Retirement Community?

A: A University-Based Retirement Community is a Senior Living option where Seniors have access to advanced educational options, often located on University campuses or extremely close by. The Communities themselves offer the perks that come with a college life: theater, classes, guest speakers, the library and most importantly, the fact that they are surrounded by young people. Young people inherently add dimension to the life of Senior residents while the Seniors add a positive effect on the college kids sharing their knowledge and wisdom that comes from a full life of experiences. The Seniors can also access the University’s fitness center, attend sporting events and in general, be a part of the University Community.

The University-Based Retirement Communities are typically smaller in scale than other models and only house 300 or so residents, which further enhances the community atmosphere. In addition, the smaller scale project encourages the participation of the Developer as well, as it can be easier and more economical to build. From all angles, it is a true intergenerational model that promotes the physical, spiritual and mental health desires of the Baby Boomers.

Q: What type of Senior Housing is available in these Communities?

A: With a lower entry age, the Communities themselves are set up to be able to fully transition each resident as their medical needs change over the years. The planned Communities usually include Independent Living, Assisted Living and even Skilled Nursing. There can also be access to University-based teaching hospitals as well.

Q: Any final thoughts before we sign off?

A: Whether we’re talking about University-Based Communities, suburban or urban locations, this is an exciting time in the Senior Living business. The changing preferences and expectations of newer generations of Seniors is causing us as designers and providers of Senior Environments to be ever-more responsive in the way we design and build the Senior Community. As an industry, we have seen great innovation in the design of these environments in recent years and I am excited about the future and the opportunity to create new designs and new products for our nation’s Seniors.

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High Design for Lower Cost: “The Retreat”

LBAbstract

Volume 2  |  December 2018

LBAbstract

Volume 2  |  December 2018

High Design for Lower Cost:
“The Retreat” Assisted Living and Memory Care

Completed in 2018, “THE RETREAT” is a 70-unit Assisted Living and Memory Care Community built as a continuation of this non-profit Owner’s mission to provide cost-responsive housing and care for the local community. Lantz-Boggio Architects was able to deliver a design and construction solution that was 14% below average market construction costs.

 

“There is no magic formula for cost efficient buildings,” according to Charlie Schmidt, Principal-in-Charge of Design at Lantz-Boggio. There must be an intention throughout the design process to select and utilize materials and systems for maximum efficiency, while satisfying a changing consumer demand for higher quality environments. “Our designs are among the most consumer responsive in the industry and we achieve cost economies with a keep-it-simple approach to everything from the building’s structural and mechanical systems to the interior finishes. This approach results in a profound savings in the cost of the project without sacrificing the qualities needed for marketability.”

At The Retreat, “We utilized a simple modular dimensional system that allowed the entire building to be constructed with two floor joist shapes and two roof truss shapes.” Kitchens and bathrooms were standardized, room dimensions were established based on standard material and product dimensions to minimize waste and allow for speed of construction. Electrical and mechanical systems and fixtures were selected based on proven performance and economy. This repetition of systems and materials creates cost efficiencies in material and labor while shortening construction schedules and lowering construction loan interest costs.

“As construction costs continue to rise in America, we as designers and form-givers of housing for our nation’s Seniors are compelled to be more innovative in cost reduction strategies” said Schmidt.

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Senior Living Marketability and the Indoor-Outdoor Connection

LBAbstract

Volume 1  |  October 2018

LBAbstract

Volume 1  |  October 2018

Senior Living Marketability and the
Indoor-Outdoor Connection

The Hospitality and Resort industries have taught us that the outdoors is more important than ever before as a venue for entertainment, dining, fitness, business functions and community events.  It is a stark example of change in the American lifestyle, an evolving preference for participation with the outdoors. While we view architecture as creating spaces to live, work and rest, we should be acutely aware the next generations of older adults are more physically active and value opportunities for outdoor engagement including activities that are both planned and spontaneous.

Successful Indoor-Outdoor experiences go beyond large windows and patios. Spaces should flow together with wide and inviting portals leading to well-appointed landscaped destination spaces. Covered areas for gatherings, games, hobbies, outdoor dining, amphitheaters and outdoor music venues are just a few examples of successful outdoor spaces that respond to current and future generation’s desires and expectations. Incorporating water, fire and a keen attention to landscaping materials adds life and vitality to the outdoor spaces. Different regions of the country will have specific preferences. The goal should be to provide opportunities for a variety of spaces with a behavioral purpose, and a variety of outdoor experiences. These spaces should link to the indoors through their placement and adjacency to indoor amenities. They should also be imaged to create connectivity and continuity from indoors to outdoors.

 

In care environments there is an equal priority for outdoor spaces as therapy.  Evidence-based design studies have proven that access and views to nature, plant materials, sunshine and fresh air, are physically and psychologically beneficial for healing and wellbeing.  Therefore, we should be designing outdoor destinations in our care communities that are easily accessed and that are strategically designed to promote health, healing and wellness.

A current example, The Ridge at Pinehurst was designed to maximize opportunities for indoor-outdoor connections. Floor-to-ceiling glass was strategically placed throughout the social and activity areas in a manner that optimizes views and access to the outdoors. Options for outdoor activities, ranging from nature paths to gardening, outdoor dining, games, fitness and a variety of active and passive gathering and social areas are clearly connected and visible from the amenity and activity areas of the building.

Takeaways
As the providers and form-givers of our nation’s senior environments we often concentrate our efforts on programming the interior spaces without capitalizing on the power of the outdoors as a focus on lifestyle opportunities and marketability.  The surrounding grounds and open air amenities are wide open for exploration and response to evolving consumer expectations and market preferences.  Let’s become more innovative in how we leverage the outdoors.  Providers who leverage the tremendous opportunities of the outdoor environment will benefit through market differentiation and greater consumer appeal.

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