Industry-wide charrette seeks to create innovative and visionary ideas for the future of senior living design
Industry-wide charrette seeks to create innovative and visionary ideas for the future of senior living design

Changing our assumptions of ‘sixtyfive-ism’ and how we design communities and buildings for life in later years is the focus of a unique design challenge being held at The University of Queensland’s St Lucia Campus in February 2020.

A joint initiative of UQ’s Healthy Ageing Initiative and DMA Engineers, with support from partners Paynters and Redland City Council, Longevity by Design will explore ageing, and how suitable and flexible senior living can be designed to support all generations to live engaged lifestyles.

Facilitated by Dr Rosemary Kennedy, Director of Subtropical Cities, the design challenge invites professionals from the health, built environment, technology and related sectors to participate in a one day workshop where they will be inspired by thought leaders throughout the day.

UQ Healthy Ageing Initiative Director, Professor Laurie Buys said the biggest challenge in developing innovate solutions for senior living is challenging ‘the givens’ about the trajectory of life beyond the age of 65. 

“For example, what would happen if we designed for adults rather than the elderly,” Professor Laurie Buys said.

“Longevity by Design provides a unique opportunity for connecting people from different backgrounds who have varied perspectives to explore possibilities to create new approaches and designs for inclusive communities and accommodation.”

The design challenge requires participants to choose from three sites based in the Redlands where they will be challenged to create visionary, innovative and highly connected design to meet the needs of future older adults in 2050.

DMA Engineers Managing Director, Russell Lamb said the timing of the design challenge is important due to the level of stagnation in current retirement and aged care facilities.

‘We have a very prescriptive and regulatory framework that we need to design retirement living and aged care facilities within, and this is a real impediment to be able to do something different,” Russell Lamb said.

“The general community is pushing back and saying that they want us to do better, and that we need to find a way to live our lives longer and more seamlessly without ‘retiring’.

“The design challenge is an exciting opportunity for teams to really influence design thinking for the future as they will present their ideas to decision makers from the senior living and aged care sector.

“The ability for participants to extend their networks in the senior living space, and to have ‘out of the box’ conversations about the future of senior living design, will also be extremely beneficial.”

Participation is invited from a range of highly motivated people in the built environment, health and community sectors, such as architects, landscape architects, transport planners, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, engineers, interior designers and urban planners. 

People with imagination, whether established or emerging professionals in their field, are encouraged to apply. Students and recent graduates are invited to apply for one of five free student event registrations.

Longevity by Design will be held in the Innes Room, Union College at UQ’s St Lucia Campus on 6 February 2020. It will be followed by a breakfast event where teams will pitch their ideas to industry and academia on 27 February 2020.

Find out more information on the charrette and the breakfast, and to register as an individual or team, visit the Longevity by Design website or contact 


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