Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 45

How/why did wellness become such an
important design influence, and how
specifically was that delivered?
Wellness was a vision that stemmed from
WesleyLife's organization-wide commitment
to support health and wellness. We embraced
wellness as a key foundation of the design not
only for this reason but also because we understand the importance of prioritizing wellness
for aging adults. When residents move out
of their homes and into a senior community,
they're adapting to a new daily life and new
patterns, and that can be really stressful. Our
goal was to develop a design that promotes
both physical and mental health. Part of what
goes into that is creating fitness spaces that
invite and inspire residents from all physical
abilities and backgrounds to exercise, which
improves mental health, as well. In addition to
the fitness spaces, we felt that wellness could
and should be incorporated throughout the
community building. At no point did we want to
give way to age-biased or care-need stigmas,
as they are detrimental to mental health and
prevent intergenerational socializing. One place
we really strived to incorporate wellness while
reducing stigmas was in the transitional care
units (TCUs). Here, we focused on reducing
residents' feelings of isolation during recovery by making the space more open and
accessible, allowing TCU residents to interact
outside of their living spaces.
Resident integration is seen throughout
the community. How did design help
achieve this?

NATE JOHNSON STUDIO

We tried to create spaces that blended
independent and assisted living. The wellness center was designed using all the criteria
necessary for skilled care and transitional care
recovery, but in a way that still feels accessible and invites use from all residents. A great
example of this from the wellness center is the
bathrooms ... [They] are designed to support
skilled care residents' use during recovery, with
the help of staff, and in a hospitality-like fitness
club setting that's appealing to more independent residents. This helped promote feelings
of unity and mitigate the separation of different
care levels that's so common in senior living
design. The fitness spaces were designed with
all residents in mind, as well, and we pushed
ourselves to integrate fitness in a way that

A full-service bistro is integrated in the heart of the lobby, offering residents a place to relax with a cocktail,
coffee, or meal. It's connected to the commercial kitchen with an adjoining door.
would inspire residents to participate and use

This project is very integrated with its sur-

the center. The spaces are functional for those
who need physical therapy, but at the same
time are bright and inviting for all residents and
their individual fitness goals.

roundings and geographic location. How
did you approach the overall look and feel
of Brio?

The community is designed throughout to be very inclusive regardless
of income level or care needs. How
was this supported through the built
environment?
In line with WesleyLife's wellness vision, we
tried to break away from what's expected in
the industry-that is, the physical separation
of different care levels. We approached the
design from the mindset that we wanted to blur
those lines more, to engage and incorporate all
residents as much as possible so each person
felt welcome in each area of the Brio community. We designed with this inclusivity in mind.
The team worked hard to eliminate differences
between resident groups. Campuses may
usually separate assisted and independent in
different buildings or place higher-end units on
a designated floor. At Brio, apartment wings,
households, and units are aesthetically similar
and organized organically, so residents feel like
they belong anywhere in the community, regardless of their income level or need of assistance.
Residents can select a buy-in or lease unit
anywhere; these units are sized the same with
differing finishes based on what the resident
selects and whether they buy-in or lease.
This inclusive design means that residents
who come to Brio from different careers and
economic backgrounds can genuinely develop
friendships that aren't limited by imposed social,
financial, or care-level boundaries.

We wanted to give a nod to the surrounding
community by taking some features of the farm
life, but we also wanted to break away a bit from
traditional farmhouse design. We wanted it to
be unique, fun, and playful while exuding its own
character. We also wanted it to be transitional,
with our own touch of design flair, so that it could
really cater to residents from all backgrounds
but still feel like home to them. In Iowa and
the Midwest, farmhouse modern is a popular
trend in residential design. We wanted to use a
farmhouse modern style to fit the area's desired
context, but also dial it up with creative applications. We incorporated playful industrial-like elements-exposed pipe and rustic hardware-and
mixed it with elegant Amish-built furniture, glulam
timber, modernized lighting, and rich colors. One
farm feature that we evolved is the two-story
"grain bin," which is a common sight on local
farms. This space is designed on the outside like
a grain bin, and we played off the industrial style
to push interest in the space, which is a unique
conference/gathering room featuring a wedged
wood Amish-made circular table and a modernized pendant lighting fixture. EFA
Jennifer Kovacs Silvis is editor-in-chief of Environments for Aging. She can be reached at jennifer.
silvis@emeraldx.com.

To read an expanded version of the Q+A,
visit EFAmagazine.com/2020-showcasebrio.
Spring 2020 * EFAmagazine.com

45


https://efamagazine.com/2020-showcase-brio https://efamagazine.com/2020-showcase-brio http://www.EFAmagazine.com

Environments for Aging - Spring 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Environments for Aging - Spring 2020

Environments for Aging - Spring 2020
Contents
EFAmagazine.com
Editorial
Show Talk
Bulletin
Photo Tour
Community
New traditions
Smart techniques
Welcome
2020 jury/award winners and finalists
Forward thinkers
Meet in the middle
Standout solutions
Top marks
Project directory
EFA Design Showcase
The Spark
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Environments for Aging - Spring 2020
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Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Contents
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Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Editorial
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Show Talk
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Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Bulletin
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Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Welcome
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Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Meet in the middle
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