RDG in the Media: A Holistic Approach to Biophilic Design in Senior Living

December 16, 2021
Architecture Interior Design Sustainability Senior Living Interiors Senior Living

RDG’s Lara Slavkin and Jay Weingarten join Terrapin Bright Green’s Catie Ryan to explore how digging deeper into biophilic design interventions can support seniors’ specific health needs.

For owners and operators of senior living communities, it can seem like the path of least resistance to incorporate plants and nature-inspired patterned textiles and call it biophilic design, but this is only a surface-level intervention. Holistic biophilic design – that is, design that looks at the whole user experience rather than only one or two elements – targets specific health outcomes initiated by intrinsic responses to nature that are deeply embedded within human biological systems. Though the research supporting biophilic design applies fairly universally, designers can identify which health impacts are most critical to senior populations and use biophilic interventions to intentionally create spaces that nurture, inspire, comfort and heal.

Example of a holistic biophilic experience where outdoor treatments impact the indoor experience. Extensive and varied depth of view gives prospect out and across multiple spaces. The overhead conditions provide two degrees of outdoor refuge along with a shaded and dappled lighting experience for the indoor spaces. Crown Point Christian Village Expansion and Renovation in Crown Point, Indiana by RDG Planning & Design. Rendering by RDG.

With health outcomes front of mind, leveraging early planning and incorporating small-scale, meaningful interventions can guide the design process and make it easier to achieve these outcomes. In the latest issue of Environments for Aging, RDG Planning & Design Partners Lara Slavkin, IIDA, WELL AP and Jay Weingarten, AIA, WELL AP join Terrapin Bright Green Director Catie Ryan, WELL AP, LEED AP BD+C to explore how incorporating a variety of biophilic design interventions can create engaging residential environments that support seniors’ specific health needs.

Click to read the full article in Environments for Aging on how to incorporate a holistic approach to biophilic design in senior living.

Written by Erin Van Zee, Communications Director