• April 13, 2024
    Two elderly women seated and doing a high five with an elderly man in the background

    On April 2, the AIANY Design for Aging and AIANY Women in Architecture Committees were pleased to host Valerie A. Mutterperl, AIA, LEED AP, Principal of Perkins Eastman, Gail Ressler, Owner of Gail Ressler Interior Design, and Susan H. Wright, RA, CPHC, LEED AP, VP for Design and Construction of Selfhelp Realty Group, for a profound and candid conversation focused on the female perspective of designing for an aging population, moderated by Chia-Yi Huang, AIA, LEED AP, member of the AIANY Design for Aging Committee.

    Over the years, we’ve found that women designers are growing in numbers. Also, more women are Executive Directors, CEO’s, and CFO’s of senior resident service providers and care communities. In the panel we highlighted the growing voices of these women professionals who are focusing on Design for Aging. Panelists shared stories about the following topics:

    • What does their career path look like?
    • How or when did they start designing spaces for aging?
    • What’s their perspective when they approach a project?
    • How do they set up design goals that impact the end-users? 
    • What are they the most excited about in their work?
    • How did they harness this passion as fuel to their work to create a place for themselves that embraces their skills and sets them apart from the crowd?
    • What advice do they have for other professionals?

    They also talked about how our industry is doing, and how we can continue to positively impact Design for Aging. Their projects are from very different sectors of this industry, but their stories are all amazing and touching. The experiences and conversations are important for everyone to hear. We missed Darcy Connors, Executive Director of SAGEServes this time, but we’ll surely invite her to share with us in the future!

  • The Design for Aging Committee March meeting was delighted to have Lisa Cini, award-winning senior living designer, author, and CEO of Infinite Living, to present the renovation of the historic Werner House into a senior-friendly Airbnb that incorporates aging in place design concepts and technologies. Cini created a website to showcase products she recommends at and captured the process of renovating the Airbnb mansion in documentary series titled “Infinite Living Secrets of the Werner House.”

    Cini’s presentation sparked a lot of great discussion. We appreciate her sharing with us these wonderful ideas and examples!

    As we enter the spring, more Committee events will be happening, including:

    • Design for an Aging Population: The Female Perspective, April 2
    • Pratt Student Presentation, May 9
    • Remembering Herb Oppenheimer

    The complete meeting agenda and events in formation for Tafel Hall panels can be accessed here. We look forward to seeing everyone on April 25!

  • February 9, 2024

    Attendees of the Design for Aging Committee’s January Meeting were delighted to have Jack Carman from Design for Generations discuss his experience as a landscape architect designing memory care spaces. From theories such as Roger Ulrich’s Supportive Design Theory, which argues that window views may influence recovery from surgery, to real-life examples like Central Park in Royal Caribbean Cruises, which presents gardens as quiet places onboard for passengers to “relax”, Jack provided his insights on garden design and great resources for us to continue exploring more design work for the creation of therapeutic outdoor environments. The following potluck and get-together also welcomed committee members to another great new year!

    On March 13, 2024, at 6:00pm, the AIANY Design for Aging Committee will host the program NYCHA Redevelopment of Chelsea & Elliot Houses in Manhattan at the Center for Architecture. The presentation will focus on the precise ways that the design team has considered the aging population as the predominant tenants of public housing developments. So don’t miss it!

  • January 16, 2024
    Image Courtesy of Portland Memory Garden.
    Image Courtesy of Portland Memory Garden.
    Image Courtesy of Portland Memory Garden.
    Image Courtesy of Portland Memory Garden.
    Image Courtesy of Portland Memory Garden.
    Image Courtesy of Portland Memory Garden.

    The DFA December Committee Meeting was delighted to have Brian Bainnson, ASLA, PLA, Principle of Quatrefoil Inc. to present the project he developed, the Portland Memory Garden. Brian is a landscape architect as was his father. He attended RISD and then moved out to Portland, Oregon. The Portland Memory Garden is designed for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory issues. It also provides respite for their caregivers and is open to the entire community. The Garden is fully fenced and enclosed, featuring restrooms, looping paths, wide walkways, lots of seating, tinted concrete to reduce glare, concrete sloping raised garden beds, lighting for nighttime with transition so that shadows don’t cause falls, and good benches with arms so as to see to the next bench throughout the garden. Brian talked about the funding, the master plan, how the site was selected, and how the garden is managed and maintained after it was dedicated in May 2002. He also shared about his knowledge of the coalition operation, the programs and uses, the choose of planting, and the conditions of other memory gardens in the U.S. The presentation and the following Q&A was truly engaging and knowledgable.

    This Spring DFA Committee is going co-host many interesting events, such as a panel with WIA Committee, an event with NYCHA, and student presentations with different schools. The complete meeting agenda with an extended list of ideas from previous meetings and events in formation for Tafel Hall panels can be accessed here. Also, we were going to have a member potluck/get together at the January meeting. We look forward to seeing everyone on January 25!



  • December 2, 2023
    HPD Design Guidelines. Image Courtesy of HPD.
    HPD Design Guidelines. Image Courtesy of HPD.

    The DFA November Committee Meeting was delighted to have Brian Baldor from NYC HPD to present new HPD Design Guidelines, focusing on items related to senior housing, mostly new construction (NC). The update was triggered by HPD’s commitment to decarbonization, electrification and emphasis on affordable housing, referring to Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines, dates for Local Law 154 to eliminate gas use in new construction, and Building and Land Use Approval Streamlining Taskforce (BLAST).

    Among the HPD’s New Construction Updates of sustainability, resiliency and design and programmatic requirements, Brian talked especially about senior housing and aging in place:

    • Housing with seniors in at least 50% of units must provide adequate backup power generation to ensure that at least one elevator remains functional during an emergency, and a community space served as a “Place of Refuge” with natural ventilation and lighting and equipped with backup power for heating, cooling, WiFi, etc.
    • To accommodate aging in place, space must have consistent light levels, dual handrails and slip-resistant stair strips, grab bars and accessible bathroom fixtures, and interior and exterior doors to be easily accessible.

    The New Construction Two-Track Expedited Design Review Process includes:

    • Design review for new projects which are very useful for special needs housing: Full design review – giving feedback on accessibility; Targeted design review – excluding accessibility if there is an accessibility consultant as part of the team; and Expedited pathway – no further reviews.
    • Mandatory Design Consultation held around 10 months before closing to discuss key Guidelines items, non-sustainability scope items, and address any questions or concerns the development team may have.
    • NC Design Guidelines Workbook transitioned from the Project Summary and submitted by the development teams throughout the process. It can be a useful tool to understand the projects.

    The complete meeting agenda with an extended list of ideas from previous meetings and events in formation for Tafel Hall panels can be accessed here. Please note that the DFA December Committee meeting will take pace on Thursday, December 14, featuring landscape architect Brian Bainnson from Portland, Oregon to talk to us about the Portland Memory Garden, a memory garden in a public park. We look forward to seeing everyone in December!


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