Volume 5  |  June 2019


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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