Students' designs place in ‘New Urban Models for Aging' contest

Akshay Sangolli

Akshay Sangolli

An innovative design for a downtown Austin, Texas senior urban housing facility created by Akshay Sangolli, a Master of Architecture student at Texas A&M, earned a merit award the American Institute of Architect’s New Urban Models For Aging competition.

Sangolli was one of six Aggie architecture students recognized in the competition that tasked participants with designing a dynamic, highly functioning urban housing community for seniors of varying health care needs. The completion called for designs that encourage residents’ activity, interest, excitement and interaction with each other and the surrounding city.

The designs created by five other Texas A&M Master of Architecture students — Lu Gan, Christian Cameron and Cameron Burke, John Fink and Josh Schelnick — earned special feature awards from the competition jury.

Sangolli’s winning project, “urban CARE,” is “intended to function in Austin’s downtown as a functional home for the aged and as a symbol of the vibrancy of the city’s people and culture,” he said. “It’s a space that maximizes interaction among elderly residents and promotes their active involvement in the day-to-day activities of its urban surroundings and vice-versa.”

According to the competition sponsors, AIA’s Design for Aging Committee, participating students investigated a project type that’s part of a burgeoning market in need of innovation. The competition asked students’ designs to:

  • address how intergenerational spaces in a senior community can enhance seniors’ experiences;
  • identify innovative ways of incorporating “Small Houses” into an urban community; and to
  • use the facilities location and program to enable seniors to connect with the greater community.

Entrants provided their projects in three phases: site selection and analysis, a master plan, and a detailed design of one component of the senior housing program.

The living units in Sangolli’s urban CARE entry offer sequential progression between various levels of care: skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living. “The multitude of interactive and congregational spaces,” he said, “ensures the least possible isolation and eases the process of progression between the facility’s various care levels.”

Sangolli’s urban CARE design was recognized in Washington, D.C. during “Celebrate Age,” the Oct. 16-19 annual convention of LeadingAge, an association of more than 5,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging. His design will also be exhibited at the 2011 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition, to be held May 17—19 in Washington DC.

posted October 17, 2011