Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Monthly Program: Design for Aging - the New AgeSong Facility

Over the next 15 years, seniors will make up 15% of California's population -- the fastest growing segment of which are over the age of 85. As the state with the largest number of seniors (as well as those with forgetfulness/dementia), California's building designs must address aging across the spectrum of needs. Dr. Shabahangi, developer and senior living specialist, will share his insights into the psychological requirements for aging environments. Additionally, architect Kava Massih, AIA will discuss his experience with entitlements and space requirements in non-institutional settings. The presentation will focus on how elder programming impacts design in AgeSong, Inc., which breaks away from the traditional 'treatment' model of care, instead supporting the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being of its residents. AgeSong is completing their latest facility, the $30 million Bayside Park in Emeryville, which includes a wellness center and cafe. Sponsored by Forell/Elsesser, Inc. Presented by the Regional Northern California Design for Aging (DFA) Committee.

Dr. Nader Shabahangi, Project Developer, CEO & co-founder of AgeSong, Inc.

Kava Massib, AIA, President, Kava Massih Architects

Mark Schlientz, Project Manager, Kava Massih Architects

As a company AgeSong is committed to providing nurturing and engaging environments for seniors. The goal in developing this project was to provide a home for seniors that felt like a real home and not an ‘elder-care facility’. Early in the design process both CEO Nader Shabahangi and COO Paula Hertel challenged the team to create spaces that were modern, urban and specifically non-institutional. We actively sought to avoid the common institutional pitfall of defensive design; not every surface need be smooth and cleanable. An emphasis was placed on selecting a palette of rich and natural materials.

Much of the space program for the building had its origins in Kneipp Therapy. Kneipp is a German treatment regimen anchored by five therapeutic pillars: hydrotherapy, exercise therapy, natural cures, diet, and physiological/psychological balance. Kneipp spaces include the therapy resistance walking pool, a Hydrotherapy Spa and a Wellness Center including massage space. Less direct but equally valuable are the series of activity spaces that afford lifestyle balance, such as a library, expressive arts spaces, a meditation room and a Café.

The Café is one of several programmatic elements that seek to reduce the sense of generational isolation experienced by seniors in many congregate living environments. Open to the public and on a busy corner in Emeryville the Café should become not only a place for residents to feel engaged with the world but for the world to engage with seniors. The lobby was designed to be open to the public and includes a glass art canopy, an artist designed stair and wall-hung work by local artists. Rather than screening itself off from the street as many senior housing projects seem to do, we have opened the ground floor up to the street. The dining room has street-side outdoor seating as does the café. The beauty salon and fitness center face the street as they would in any urban street setting. The property itself was selected for it’s easy connection to many local cultural institutions and public transportation options.

Nader Shabahangi, CEO and co-Founder of AgeSong

Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D., received his doctorate from Stanford University and is a licensed psychotherapist. In 1992 he founded the non-profit organization Pacific Institute with the purpose of training psychotherapists in a multicultural, humanistic approach to counseling and to provide affordable therapy services to the many diverse groups living in San Francisco. In 1994, noticing the often inhumane treatment of the elderly living in institutions, he started to develop an innovative Gerontological Wellness Program in order to provide emotional support and mental health care services for the elderly. In 1997, together with his two brothers, Nader opened a residential care home for the elderly in San Francisco called Hayes Valley Care, where he could along with the Pacific institute Internship team implement the Gerontological Wellness Program.

Kava Massih, President of Kava Massih Architects

Since founding Kava Massih Architects in 1996, Kava has guided the firm’s steady growth, built its strong reputation, and garnered the respect of clients and community alike. Kava brings to all his projects clear, innovative, and inspiring designs. His personal involvement in each phase of our projects results in consistent quality for all projects. He has maintained an intentionally diverse portfolio of work including commercial, retail, multi-unit housing and healthcare. Major completed work includes the Berkeley Bowl West, the Contra Coast District Attorney’s Office Building, The Sierra condominium complex in Jack London Square and the Bentley School in Lafayette. Kava is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, School of Architecture.


Monthly Program: Design for Aging at the New AgeSong Facility

Time: 5:30pm

Location: AIA East Bay Chapter Office, 1405 Clay Street, Oakland.

Contact: 510/464-3600

Cost: $15 for AIA/DFA Members; $20 for non-members. Registration is required. Click here to register.

1.5 CES/HSW LUs (.5 MCE)

For more information: 510/464-3600

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