Shared Sites: Design for Intergenerational Aging

  • Node A-Jennifer Hohol
  • Node B-Yangliang Li
  • Node C-Howie Chen
  • Node D-Sam Bell-Hart
  • Node E-Shiyao Li
  • Node F-Won Dooho

In this studio, led by Professor of Practice Valerie Greer, students worked with the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at the Institute of Public Health at Washington University as well as the Sau Po Centre for Ageing at Hong Kong University in order to delve into the intricacies of serving intergenerational populations. The studio prompt challenged students to radically rethink the potential of design to respond to the globally aging population, and the segmentation by age in society. Studio exercises specifically focused students on the spatial, social, and sensory needs for both older adults and children. This supported designs that promoted active aging and intergenerational connections.

Students were immersed in the sensory experience of aging. In addition to research provided by the partner organizations, students also participated in empathy exercises to understand the challenges of negotiate a space with mobility or vision impairments. As they attempted to navigate campus in wheelchairs and with vision-impairment goggles, they were exposed to how details in design decisions could mean the difference between safety and danger for their potential users.

To kick-off the semester, students designed a room for two people they know: someone over the age of 65 and someone under the age of 18. In this shared space, grandparents came together with grandchildren, and the spatial and sensory needs of both groups were addressed.

Following this initial exercise, students chose a site in either Hong Kong or in St. Louis, and then developed a proposal for an intergenerational learning center. These centers included libraries, swimming and water facilities, and artisan craft spaces. As a comprehensive studio, students considered all the final details of the building, and paid special attention to at least two sensory experiences for their intended audiences.

Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at the Institute of Public Health
Sau Po Centre for Ageing at Hong Kong University

CityStudioSTL Studio Grant