As Baby Boomers Age, Is Architecture Failing Them?


Super interesting research from Corgan in Dallas. Has anyone researched this more? What do you think?

Jun 26, 16 6:32 pm

god no.  wow.  this is awful.  instead of a rest area in the hall for baby boomers, why not get baby boomers to improve their diet and exercise more?

seriously, do you think a baby boomer ever cared this much about their parents, or anyone other than themselves?  decent architects are more focused on environmentally sustainable low energy tiny homes because the baby boomers screwed up the environment and the economy for the rest of us.

you would rather us focus on some old entitled person that should stay home and retire if they can't contribute any more, rather than focusing on fixing the mess they left behind?

Jun 26, 16 7:52 pm  · 

seriously, do you think a baby boomer ever cared this much about their parents, or anyone other than themselves? 

Seriously curt, you don't see the irony of this statement when your generation needs an "empathy suit" ?

Don't architects as a general rule(no matter what generation they might be) try to take everyone and the environment into consideration?

Jun 26, 16 9:14 pm  · 

I love that there are "old suits" to put on people to help them experience what the world is like for the elderly!

I mean, we all did this in arch school for other-abled bodies, right? Tried taking a wheelchair across campus, or catch a bus while blindfolded?

I wonder if there's a way to simulate joint pain?

Jun 26, 16 9:28 pm  · 

i'm x, not millenial.  we're the latchkey kids, not the entitled heliparent generation.  anyway, they learned it by watching you.

i don't think an architect tries to cater to everyone.  that would be impossible.  there are priorities.  case in point, we now need 2 drinking fountains instead of 1.  when we moved them lower for short people and people in wheel chairs, we found out tall people and people with bad backs are penalized.  at some point we have to say that 2 drinking fountains is enough.

making baby boomers a priority is unwise.  baby boomers can stop complaining and take care of themselves.  maybe even spend some time trying to fix the problems you guys created.  that would create a better example for people you like to think of as 'entitled.'

aside from that, they refer to 'users over 60.'  come on, that's not even that old.  if you can't walk down a hall without special accommodation simply by virtue of being 60, there is something very wrong.

Jun 26, 16 9:34 pm  · 


Jun 26, 16 9:38 pm  · 

It's all about values, man. 

Jun 26, 16 9:39 pm  · 

I guess my argument is with the subtext of the article, the false narrative that architects don't think about how their designs are used by people.

Jun 26, 16 9:54 pm  · 

I agree with curt on this one.  Baby boomers are the most entitled and selfish generation to ever shart on this earth...We should Focus on repairing the mess they made rather than digging the hole deeper with more of their creature comforts.  

Jun 26, 16 9:55 pm  · 
Sounds like there's money to be made out of this research.

Empathy is interesting. Apply empathy to each generation's problems. How would that change our environment?

There was an article awhile ago about what city is the best to age in.

Also was reading about how the best neighborhoods in cities are built around children's needs. Empathy.
Jun 27, 16 3:00 am  · 

i already find designing around a very very small percentage of the population a bit annoying, clients find it even more annoying - usually with responses "i am not handicap so why the hell do I need to lose all that space.". why should we change the entire world for a bunch of old farts. at some point you get old and die. should you design the places for the elderly better,? yes. should you change the entire world for them? no. the architecture that serves able bodies is adequate. its not about empathy, its about common sense.

Jun 27, 16 7:44 am  · 

 "i am not handicap so why the hell do I need to lose all that space.

Your client is one person. How many handicapped people would be unable to use that building?

Don't shit me, the real reason is their loss of leasable space, not the fact that they are not handicapped.

These are civil rights and IMO you and your client's attitude is un-American.

Jun 27, 16 8:21 am  · 

public space sure. office space sure. but private residence - thats up to the current owner.

Jun 27, 16 8:31 am  · 

Olaf is right.  Reasonable accommodations are fine for public buildings (up to a point) but beyond a certain point the cost to society as a whole is a consideration as well.  A case in point is handicapped parking.  10% of space set aside is crazy.  Do you ever see even a fraction of them used?

Curtkram:  The WW2 generation saved the world from Hitler but dozed during the civil rights struggle.  The boomers forced an end to the Vietnam war and kick-started the environmental movement, but ignored the financial distortions.  Etc.  Every generation enjoys what its forebearers did right and struggles with what they did wrong.  It's how the cosmos works.  How else could it work?

Jun 27, 16 8:45 am  · 

the threads title is even ass backwards.

Jun 27, 16 8:56 am  · 

A case in point is handicapped parking.  10% of space set aside is crazy.  Do you ever see even a fraction of them used?

geezertect, this gets to my currently blossoming belief that excess is good.  Sure, several HC spaces sit empty. But is it *really* a hardship on an able-bodied person to have to walk an extra 40 feet to get to the same spot on the entry sidewalk as would exist if the HC spaces weren't there? 

The HC space is not noticeably meaningful to the route of an able-bodied person.  But to my mother with Parkinson's that 40 feet is meaningful. Can our larger society really *not* afford that extra 40 feet of space to make life easier for those to whom it's meaningful?

Excess is good. Contingency is always part of a project. If you don't use it, no harm no foul, right?

Jun 27, 16 9:11 am  · 

As Baby Boomers age, their bodies are failing them.......the world of dumbass media with even dumber agendas, you are welcome for the correction.

Jun 27, 16 9:15 am  · 

What about mommies with babies and little kids? I think we should design for them. 

Baby boomers have lots of useful phrases like Buck Up Buttercup. Maybe they need to listen to their own words and buck up?

Jun 27, 16 9:23 am  · 

This is not very useful when this real issue is boxed in baby boomers packaging. We all get old eventually and even getting onto an escalator becomes dangerously challenging, Except, when we are supergood and die early!

It must be that news item originating architects want to carve a lucrative niche for themselves with 'extensive research' and 'interest in the market' as referred via the linked article by Julia Bunch.

Besides journalistic nitpicking by me, the issues are real and must be addressed.

Jun 27, 16 11:31 am  · 
chatter of clouds

That also dépends on the nature of the programme. In an office, would there really be need to cater to a target group 65+? In a factory even less likely. In a shopping mall; yes of course. Urban parks and so on, yes of course. So really, it is a question of need and subsequent programming.

Jun 27, 16 11:54 am  · 

Yes. Also, that should be educational/practical built in and not necessarily series of legislative mandates. Because once it is a mandate, unnecessary expenses roll in.

Jun 27, 16 11:59 am  · 

This whole notion and point is part of what is called "universal design". The notion while originally is about elderly people which 80-100% of people over the age of 70 experiences to some degree. I'd say anyone over the age of 60 is probably experience some level of noticeable (at least to the person)  mobility challenges of some level. It's called aging and the reason for mobility challenges results from a number of factors but a prevailing factor is arthritis. This is something that effects everyone as they get older. Past injuries from foolishness when young comes back to haunt ya.

The issue is not to apply such principles of design to specific generation but do what is right. Some people have other kinds of mobility challenges and disabilities that has to be addressed with regards to disabilities or mobility challenges the person has. It's no good if you address everything but the mobility challenges/disabilities the person has. I'm not saying it isn't good to widely address other kinds of mobility challenges and disability by thinking about the project from a 4th dimension perspective (passage of time). 

Buildings are't just about a particular person. Changes of ownership to changes of condition that a person may experience over time. Usually from bad to worse than necessary bad to better condition when it comes to mobility challenges or disabilities as people's bodies are essentially decaying to death from the day they are born. That's the cold harsh reality so we can't just blind ourselves in fantasy from reality. Reality always wins.

So in turn we must think about issues in a broader, progressive sense in a scientifically based sense of understanding the subject matter.

Jun 27, 16 1:20 pm  · 

I find the whole thing rather   Basically, the older thing is a PROGRESSIVE change.  So lifestyles and how you experience the world just sort of evolve.  Example:  My Dad, 74, lip reads over 50%.  He didn't take a class on it, nor was it some sort of just overnight putting on ear muffs.  What he essentially does is 'fills in the blanks' based on conversation context, experience, and watching you speak. His vision loss is pretty substantial too.  This all happens slowly over time... (unlike that article 'test').  It's like an old injury you might have like a trick knee; you just know you shouldn't do 'this or that' Without thinking about it, now you do something to work around that problem to avoid bending it in a way that hurts..  You adapt.    

Experience and history is also how he experiences buildings presently....  There really aren't that many 'unique' buildings functionally.  You enter at a main focal point on the front street facade, lobby (with directory), elevators.  You know most bathrooms and stairs are also around the core.  Room numbers 203 = second floor, third unit... etc.  And well; he's old, so he doesn't give a rat's arse about asking for directions or striking up conversations with strangers.  And keep in mind; He's a jetsetter.  So.... he finds his way around in several countries where he doesn't even know the language and/or alphabet.  Those buildings are laid out the same basic way even in the third world.  A easily legible sign is hardly going to make the space 'better' for him.  If he wants a rest?  90% of the lobbies at the entry or in the office have f'n chairs to sit in even in Bora-Bora or Paris or Midland OK...  

The physical limitations are dealt with under the accessibility.  There are signage regulations, etc.  The only thing I know of that has caused him or his friends issues are some of the floor patterns throw off his balance or sloped floors where you wouldn't expect them (again he relies on memory and experience to navigate).  He has bitched about some of the B&B access though (converted homes and steep stairs aren't his friend anymore).  So some historic hotels he's got issues with if they've never updated too.  But that's not even his generation who built those....   

Jun 27, 16 3:38 pm  · 

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