A Red Deer architect will be receiving international recognition for innovative designs for seniors at an awards ceremony in England in June.
George Berry of Berry Architecture + Associates will receive an award for best seniors design architect from Open Eye Corporation, which researches seniors housing and likes to spotlight worthy companies.
“They do a lot of research on global development on some of the new trends in seniors housing,” said Berry about Open Eye.
Open Eye produces several online publications including Canadian Over 50s Housing Weekly, UK Over 50s Housing Weekly, Seniors Housing & Care Trends, Dementia Weekly, and more.
Berry said when his company designs a building for seniors, it’s developing a home for seniors, not just a facility or lodge.
“By creating a home environment for them, they feel more open to continuing the life they had before they moved into a seniors home.”
He said his company talks to seniors in order to design to their needs, which can differ whether they live in a small town or a big city. A lot of the facilities designed today are very old-fashioned and are driven by finances, he said.
“It’s been difficult in Alberta, a very conservative group. They like things the way that they used to be. But if we design a seniors lodge even the way we did five years ago, we’re making a mistake.”
“Our lodges don’t cost more than anybody else’s, but we like to think that they are more responsive to what the seniors are really looking for.”
He said that may be space for an art program, yoga or learning about how to improve their fly fishing technique.
‘We’re eliminating the long-run corridors that you see in a lot of seniors lodges. You don’t need those. You don’t have to have those. There’s no reason to do it.”
Berry Architecture focuses on open and interactive spaces in seniors buildings, similar to the way it designed the new Westpark Middle School that will open in the fall, he said.
“We wanted to develop a space where everything is an opportunity for education in there, whether it’s a circulation space, a pathway, or whether it’s actually in a classroom.”
Berry said Open Eye appreciates his company’s attention to interactive spaces.