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Designing thoughts for the future.

It's amazing what can happen when a group of people come together for a singular purpose. I recently met with our jury of design experts to determine the winners of the CLTC's annual Order of Excellence in Design and Architecture.

The conversation about each entry was invigorating and naturally led to discussion of ways to spark next year's competition.

One thing the judges commented on was the emphasis on the common areas in photographs. Lobbies redolent with luxurious amenities. Dining rooms that appear perfect for a pleasant meal and friendly conversation. Garden paths and benches calling for residents to take a stroll.

Indeed, the first of our honorees in our annual Order of Excellence in Architecture and Design Awards, Maravilla in Santa Barbara, Calif., offers residents a beautiful resort-like home. It looks like somewhere to spend a long-term vacation. I wouldn't mind living there myself, and that would be one of my criteria if I were judging.

Yet, among all the entries there were very few photos that emphasized where the people lived and spent many of their waking hours. Beyond the obligatory bedroom shot and perhaps a glance at the hallway outside the rooms, little was shown of the rooms in which residents slept, perhaps read books, or reminisced in private.

To be sure, much of the money spent in a new or renovated facility goes into the common areas, which can be among the most marketable elements--both to the prospective residents and their families. It makes sense to focus attention on the recreation areas, the swimming pool, the entryway, etc.

Next year we would like to recognize how well winning facilities were able to address the living space. It shouldn't be the complete focus of entries, as residents do live outside their rooms. But it would be good to see more of the spaces where Mom and Dad might watch their favorite show or where they keep their pictures of the family.

For those entering the 2006 competition, consider how to show that the facilities of our seniors are more than comfortable, lovely hotels.
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Title Annotation:Order of Excellence in Design and Architecture for nursing homes
Author:Sinclair, Matthew
Publication:Contemporary Long Term Care
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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