Publisher’s Message: April 2021

Anastasia Barnes

This month’s focus on multi-residential and senior/assisted living facilities brings some serious topics to light, including isolation amongst seniors in nursing homes and the current shortage of affordable housing.

It’s no surprise that the need for affordable housing has increased over the past 12 months, with many individuals and families being displaced due to the pandemic. In the Construction Institute’s piece on page 12, a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition states that more than 7 million additional affordable housing units are needed right now.

Local companies like HousingToHome, Dakota Partners, and Potomac Capital Advisors are developing this type of housing. According to Derrick Seitz of Windover Construction (page 16), the use of modular construction enables affordable housing to be brought to the market faster with the same level of craftsmanship as traditional construction.

I started hearing the phrase, ‘“social isolation” come up last spring, when COVID-19 had just started to spread and all assisted and senior living facilities stopped allowing friends and families to visit. A number of news outlets have reported the rise of depression among seniors due to isolation. Now we’re seeing this being addressed in the design of these facilities. That’s what makes our industry so incredible. AEC professionals continue to step up and offer solutions to the challenges we’re facing.

James Heroux, principal at Copley Wolff Design Group, is doing just that. In his article on page 24, Heroux states that, in a post pandemic-world, designing for an older population will require the integration of architectural design and the outdoor realm for residents, caregivers, and their families. A perfect example of this type of design is the park at the D’Youville Life & Wellness senior living community in Lowell, Mass. The park features seating areas, walking paths, gardens, water features, and a pergola for residents, family members, and caregivers to enjoy.

Myles Brown, principal at Amenta Emma, shares a similar point of view in his piece on page 30. Brown suggests sunlight and nature are “must haves” when designing for senior living.

This year’s MEP and Building Energy supplement has a spotlight on the Coalition of American Mechanical and Electrical Engineers (CAMEE), a part of ACEC. Check them out on page 12 of the supplement.

Next month’s edition has a focus on civil and landscape, with a spotlight on innovation and technology. I’m always a fan of the May issue because it means we’re that much closer to warm weather!

Enjoy spring, and as always, enjoy the read.

Anastasia Barnes

Read HP’s April 2021 edition now!

Read HP’s MEP 2021 edition now!

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