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The historical paradigm for aging is nearly always one of displacement. In the best cases this suggests “snow-bird” retirees, but the reality is likely closer to a hospital. This altered lifestyle often involves leaving behind the objects, daily patterns, communities, and relationships. The end result being one of isolation  in a facility organized around medicine – away from friends,  community, and the countless other amenities that a mobile lifestyle provides.

The response to this, as envisioned by students Benjhamin Callam and Joseph Littrell of the University of Pennsylvania, is to support community with just as much importance as the medical advances that support the individual.

The design combines contemporary ideas of an “on demand” lifestyle, with more familiar spatial and programmatic ideals.  Aging in Place(s) is achieved through transformations at two scales. At the scale of the individual, an automated movable wall system allows each resident to maintain privacy in their room where this is most important – namely the bedroom and bathroom.

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The building is similarly dynamic at the scale of the community . Using an “on-demand” style automated system, the building reconfigures to satisfy resident requests throughout the day as it travels across the landscape, before settling into an optimized nursing configuration at night. The ability to change the space during the day could accommodate more multi-generational interactions as well as more community collaboration. The ability to traverse diverse landscapes, theoretically, could permit the residents not only the diversity of views, but potentially the ability to enjoy some of the community facilities in the areas the dwelling visits. It is almost as if it is a land-going cruise ship for the elderly.

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