“Our country and our planet are aging rapidly. How we choose to care for our elders says something about us as a nation. Providing safe, accessible and healthy homes is key to good preventative care. Good design can’t solve all of our problems, but it can help us provide better, more holistic care to our seniors.”
Sam Beall is a fellow with Cathedral Square, a non-profit organization that owns and manages properties for seniors and individuals with special needs. During his fellowship, Sam has focused on two guiding questions: How can the design of senior housing improve public health? And how is senior housing different from other types of housing? He invested time into evaluating Cathedral Square’s properties and cataloguing their attributes. He also invited the community to a roundtable asking them about their concerns, the places they love and the places they hate.
Armed with the opinions of the residents and site managers, Sam took on the challenge of remodeling a modest but well maintained home built in 1980, then applied many of the insights he had gained to the design of Wright House, a new building where he applied both a functional and cognitive perspective to the design of units and common space. In the long-term, Sam hopes to see these innovative changes become standard practice. “A lot of the legwork associated with building programming can be done without an architecture degree. Auditing your own space, articulating values - these are tasks that are often best completed from within.”
Sam graduated with a Master of Architecture from the University of Virginia in 2009. He was selected as a 2008 Nix Fellow for researching Corbusier’s work in Marseille and Provence. Prior to his fellowship, Sam worked as designer with Ryall Porter Sheridan Architects, Butler Armsden Architects, and Andrew Mann Architecture and volunteered with the Institute on Aging in San Francisco.