Architecture for the ages: How houses can adapt to aging boomers | MNN


Of the 78 million child boomers in the US, most seem to wish to retire in a nice big, single floor house on a cul-de-sac. Having seen too a lot of my mother or father’s era try this and be completely depressing, I’ve tried to make the case that boomers ought to be doing the other, and ought to be trying to reside in walkable communities the place they gained’t be trapped once they’re compelled to hold up the automotive keys.

Alex Bozikovic, who covers structure for the Globe and Mail, looks at three projects that present how boomers are staying of their homes in these walkable neighborhoods, noting:

Younger adults are getting squeezed out of the housing market. Their dad and mom, in the meantime, wish to downsize with out leaving acquainted neighbourhoods. The answer couldn’t be easier to a rising group of designers: Rethink (and rebuild) the household house to swimsuit a number of generations for the lengthy haul.

stairs and landingSure, now we have stairs in our home. (Picture: Craig A. Williams)

My spouse Kelly and I are one of many households studied, and the article opens embarrassingly:

When a wierd younger man entered her bed room, Kelly Rossiter wasn’t totally shocked. “He had had a bit an excessive amount of to drink,” says Rossiter, who lives in Toronto, “and had gotten misplaced on the way in which to the entrance door.” On the way in which, that’s, from a celebration at her daughter’s place; Rossiter and her husband Lloyd Alter reside beneath their daughter Emma, now 28, in a 1913 home that’s been cut up into two residences. The door that hyperlinks the suites of their house is normally left unsecured. “However after that night time, I started locking the door every time she had a celebration,” Rossiter says.

That is one of many only a few untoward occasions now we have skilled since we had what I referred to as on TreeHugger a radical decluttering and downsizing; you can take the tour there.

Grange HouseGrange Triple Double has stairs. (Picture: Williamson Chong Architects)

A way more fascinating challenge is the Grange Triple Double home by Williamson Chong Architects. It’s a brand new home constructed for a a lot youthful couple of their 30s with a younger son who’re significantly planning forward. It’s designed with a important three-bedroom unit and two different items that may be rented or used for household as issues change, “a bespoke home that will accommodate all of them along with rental revenue – after which change, a number of occasions, because the household’s wants evolve by means of the a long time.” Bozikovic writes:

The tenant house might be configured as one or two residences; half or all of it can be joined to the principle home with the removing of cupboards or wall sections. As well as, one of many home’s bedrooms might be closed off as a semi-private space for the older residents. In time, the architects think about that the home might take many alternative configurations; as an illustration, one or each of the grandparents may transfer into the principle ground rental house.

StairsJanna Levitt and Dean Goodman have stairs. (Picture: LGA Structure)

Then there’s the home that Janna Levitt and Dean Goodman of LGA Architectural Companions designed for themselves over a decade in the past, when their youngsters had been youngsters. Planning forward, they constructed it with a excessive basement residence and even buried a stair for an exit which they’ll dig out. (“We thought, if we give the youngsters their very own door when they’re 14 or 15 years previous, we’ll by no means see them,” Goodman explains.)

There’s a lesson on this: Design issues. Levitt and Goodman are glorious architects, and their home is effectively deliberate to be snug and adaptable regardless of its comparatively modest dimension. “It’s necessary to consider what you’re constructing for,” Goodman says, “not good now, however in the long term. And the way for much longer?”

Like my spouse and I, Dean and Janna will not be worrying an excessive amount of about stairs. Alex questioned about this, provided that the standard knowledge about getting old in place is that folks ought to reside on one stage with every part wheelchair accessible. Alex writes:

Alter argues passionately that being positioned in a walkable neighbourhood, served by transit and linked to neighbours, is what issues as one ages. “Older individuals, once they transfer into single-family homes in subdivisions, they’re setting themselves up for failure,” he says. “It’s a hell of so much likelier that they’ll lose their keys earlier than they lose their potential to stroll up the steps. That is one answer: this re-intensification of our neighbourhoods.”

This isn’t an answer for everybody. Constructing or renovating a home to make it multi-family isn’t cheap, particularly if you would like good sound isolation. Nonetheless the rental revenue can greater than cowl the prices. And as Starre Vartan famous on Fb, “Sensible thought for these households who like one another! Sadly, most individuals I do know don’t even wish to be in the identical state as their dad and mom.” In our case, we’re fortunate that manner. We’ll see the way it goes down the street; if nothing else, we are going to by no means be lonely.

Lloyd Alter ( @lloydalter ) writes about good (and dumb) tech with a aspect of design and a splash of boomer angst.

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