Fig: 1 - Importance of companionship and community in old age.
Old age is one of the very periods when there is uncertainty and a fragile view towards life, as hope and morals are sought in the social connections and bond with loved ones. This age is beyond the age wherein one can handle abrupt changes in lifestyle or the way one lived for the past decades. The connection with the past is of innate importance in front of an uncertain future.
Seniors all around the world experience a certain change during this period, where the fast-paced lifestyle shifts to a slower one. Considerably changing the world for them in a short period. In this period they experience that they have ample time and resources to share. But with time their physical capacities have limited them to a certain level wherein there are restrictions. To acknowledge these restrictions there is a need for creating an environment that not only provides them what they need; but also looks after their wants.
How can these wants be addressed successfully?
Fig: 2 - Many old people face loneliness and abandonment in their lives and long for connection in day-to-day life.
With time the care and concern towards them start to create a hammering barrier between them and the life they lived. In these times when senior citizens are transitioning towards their retirement lifestyle, some things bring comfort to them. These things sometimes extend beyond basic healthcare and nursing facilities.
Along the line the physical restrictions and age start creating a rift between them and the other age groups; thus ends in creating an environment that is more isolating to them.
In this age when everyone is old, they are all standing on the brink of uncertainty; towards life and everything ahead. And in such moments the strategies and caregiving methodologies that we use cause them to feel more socially remote and less connected. Thus there is a need for a socially inclusive environment that offers a safe and connected space for them.
Can architecture help address this issue?
Fig: 3 - Positive reinforcement can be established for senior citizens through meaningful design interventions.
Urban settings in these cases expand this sense of isolation even more; as the nuclear way of living in separate apartments creates a home for old age people but fails to deliver the connection that these people seek from it.
The connection with their age community is one of the most basic solutions that this issue demands.
Brief: This challenge aims to design a senior citizen co-living space; where they are provided with community living that helps them stay connected and together in the rapidly changing urban context.
The design should establish a connection through myriad different ways but what is most important is the creation of a space that offers them connection, community, and engagement with each other at the same place.
Convenience - Understand their need for easy access to food and good health. Along with better mental space to find refuge in.
Safety needs - Their need for a safe environment of self and belonging and an affordable solution that assures safety and guarantee.
Purpose - The concept of urban community space is to create a harmonious environment where community living is experienced by the elders.
Engagement - Connection - Inclusiveness can be integrated into the design structure. Through tangible and intangible design aspects.
The following objectives can be a point of beginning to conceive this design. Participants can assume their contexts on the basis of their concept and design.
Site Area: 4078 sq.m
Height limit: G+2 = Max floor height 6m/per floor.
FAR (Floor Area Ratio): 1
Ground Coverage: 30%
Coordinates: 33°57'16.5"S 18°41'07.9"E
Africa, the second largest continent, covers about one-fifth of the total land surface of Earth. The continent is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Climatic and other factors have exerted considerable influence on the patterns of human settlement in Africa. Overall the African region has a broad variety in their user age range.
The site is located amidst the urban areas of the African city. Housed in majorly residential areas. The adjacent neighbouring areas are mainly residential. Open lands are present in the nearby areas, and residential complexes.
The total number of senior citizens to be catered: 50
User data: The age group of senior citizens to be considered between 60 to 85 Age groups.
Spaces ideas: Open main courtyard, shared open space, passages, connected seating areas, landscape, South and trees as a part of the built design, shared community spaces, and semi-covered, covered, align, which and open spaces throughout the structure. Use of local materials and techniques that are relevant to urban settings.
General/ ancillary Space ideas:
- Administration block
- Hall space
- reception area
- Dining hall
- Library space
- meditation space
- Community kitchen
- Local shop
- Frail care units
- Independent residential units.
- Open spaces for activities
- Walking and cycling tracks
Additional spaces can be added by the participant.