In Focus: New Aging
September 21, 2010
Editor’s Note: As you’ve read here in this space, Architizer is a proud sponsor of the New Aging conference, a symposium on designing for elder generations that is both theoretical and practice-based.
New Aging has harnessed the power of social media to ask relevant questions about architectural solutions for the future, but affecting change requires offline action as well. Through Architizer we’ve learned how to crowd-source, and co-founder Matthias Hollwich — principal at HWKN and leader of the New Aging movement — is doing the same through the University of Pennsylvania, both in academia and practice.
Two goals for the project are sustainability and creating adequate living environments for an aging society. Did you know: 50% of people in institutional care have cognitive impairment? Not to mention, 55% of people aged 65 years and over have hypertension, a medical condition which can be countered through healthy diet and more exercise — both programmatic solutions in architecture.
According to Hollwich, “Aging is like flying into space. The body alone is not adequate to adapt to such extreme conditions. Space stations are designed to compensate for a human body’s limitations, much like retirement communities must ease the process of aging for its population.”
After the break, a few words from Matthias Hollwich on New Aging and how it relates to us as designers and members of a larger society.
With the recession finally lifting its clouds, it is time for the architectural community to harness its energy and stand within the larger social and economical context. People argue that a recession is the best time to start a business, and many innovations and new creative directions are born during a time when making money is less of an opportunity.
I am personally very interested to experience this new potential. In our practice, we started Architizer the very day Lehman Brothers crumbled (two years ago now), wanting to provide the architectural community with a new outlet for ideas, designs, and ambitions in a contemporary fashion.
We did not just want to go digital and create a platform; we sought to address the pressing issues of our time with research and new communication tools. The two most important challenges are saving Mother Nature (while carving out a space for us), and a large part of that is deriving new solutions for an aging community. Have you been to a nursing home recently? Trust me, you don’t want to see one at the age of 85!
This is why I convinced the University of Pennsylvania to host a conference that not only raises awareness, but also invokes a different tone on how we, as architects, should engage in the discourse: not by building nursing homes for the elderly, but by creating architecture to support a life that we personally would be interested in living when we are old.
Since I am the initiator and Architizer one of the key media sponsors, we would like to invite you to the New Aging Conference on the 1st and the 2nd of October in Philadelphia. We have an amazing line-up of speakers including:
Jose Colucci Jr. – Health and Wellness Director, IDEO
Joseph F. Coughlin – Director, MIT AgeLab
Daniel Cinelli – Principal, Perkins Eastman
Madeline Gins – Initiator, Architecture Against Death
Dr. Aubrey de Grey – Chief Science Officer, SENS Foundation
Juergen Mayer H. – Principal, J. MAYER H. Architects
Matthias Hollwich – Principal, HollwichKushner (HWKN)
Manuel Ocana – Principal, Architecture and Thought Production Office
Victor Regnier – Professor, University of Southern California School of Architecture
Charles Renfro – Partner, Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Joel Sanders – Principal, Joel Sanders Architect
Dr. Gregory Stock – CEO, Signum Biosciences
Dr. William H. Thomas – Founder, Eden Alternative and the Green House
Please join us to change the world!
Bonus: read another interview with Matthias Hollwich at Co.Design.