At D2 we know the design process is never done. Just when the drawings for a particular building are complete something needs to be moved, and just when a building is complete something needs to be remodeled. That is why we go through what we call “repositioning” workshops with our senior living facility clients – to make sure we are constantly designing and redesigning for real life. And when we reposition any facility, we are always thinking not about what is wrong today, but what is right for tomorrow. At D2 we call this designing today for 2020.
In repositioning workshops we think about how to reposition a senior living facility to better function for its residents, its staff and its visitors. We involve as many stakeholders as appropriate, sometimes all at once and sometimes in small groups so people feel more free to express their hopes and hesitations. The most common workshops involve a large group of stake-holders including the owner, staff, residents, resident family members, consultants and sometimes contractors.
In repositioning workshops we all discuss priorities, explore of options and experience reality checks. We discuss current trends and show images of other senior living communities and “mood” images as a Rorschach test to gauge stake-holder preferences. We often cut out large colored blocks for the participants to actually play with on an enlarged site or a building plan to explore the combinations, adjacencies and phasing of options. We often mock-up certain critical spaces using painters tape on floors, using similar existing rooms and even the owner’s furnishings and equipment to help the owner and their stake holders better visualize scale. Some of these mockups have been used by care-givers to prove or disprove critical layouts based on their real world experience with their seniors.
This collaborative planning has been called lots of things besides a repositioning workshop, such as a Master Planning Workshop, a Stake Holder Workshop, a Programming Town Hall Meeting, or an excuse to play with blocks again, but no matter what you call it, its an important process in repositioning a facility for success through design.