02/01/21 Virtual Faculty/Student Exhibition Series Renewed for Spring 2021


The USC School of Architecture Faculty/Student Exhibition Series returns this semester to our virtual gallery space. The intent of the exhibition program is not only to highlight the professional work or academic research of our faculty but also to offer insights into connections between their pedagogy and practice.

This semester’s exhibitions include:

  • Victor Regnier, Opens February 1
  • Juan Salazar, Opens February 15
  • Alex Maymind, Opens March 1
  • Farnoosh Rafaie, Opens March 15
  • Melissa Shin, Opens March 29
  • Emily Mohr, Opens April 12

Professor Victor Regnier, FAIA kicks off this semester’s series with his exhibition, “Housing Options for Physically and Mentally Frail Older People that Promote Independence.” Regnier notes that the global demographic profile will change radically in the next 30-50 years as life expectancy grows and fertility contracts push the average age higher. Beyond the economic impacts this has on productivity and economic growth, it also has a major impact on humanity. While countries in northern Europe have developed community-based alternatives to combine independent housing and services, the U.S. has continued to promote institutional models. This exhibition explores through various design approaches three housing and service hybrid models that provide support to the mentally and physically frail in an independent non-institutional fashion. It displays work from Regnier's latest book on more humane alternatives to institutionalizing mentally and physically frail older people. Below, he shares additional insight into his work and this exhibition.

What inspired this exhibit?

My interest in aging and environments began with a fellowship at the Andrus Gerontology Center at USC where I was educated along with a dozen other multidisciplinary fellows in psychology, physiology, sociology, urban planning, biology, and psycho-biology. Each of us was funded to explore ideas about the future of aging in our parent discipline. My interest focused on the role of housing in achieving independence and life satisfaction. Over the last 50 years, I have explored a range of topics related to that basic theme. In the 1990s, with the help of a Fulbright Award, I discovered how housing with services in northern Europe had been designed to balance independence and support. This exhibit focuses on three promising housing strategies that add to the inventory of non-institutional housing and service solutions for frail older people.


More generally, what inspires your work?

Creating settings that allow older people with mental and physical impairments to live a fuller, more satisfying non-institutional lifestyle that they can control, along with helping frail people achieve more independence while giving them greater possibilities for leading a less restrictive life. Because the oldest-old population of the world is growing faster than any other age cohort, innovative housing and service combinations are needed to create better non-institutional choices. Doing so will help this group achieve a happier, more satisfying end-of-life.


What do you hope viewers will take away from this exhibition?

There are 10 key takeaways:

1. How current practices like conventional nursing homes, fail to serve this population adequately.

2. How housing types like the "Apartment for Life" can allow frail older people to avoid placement in a nursing home and lead a more satisfying independent life.

3. How smaller nursing home clusters can achieve a more intimate and supportive home-like setting by reducing scale and creating a more compassionate culture of care. 

4. The importance of movement therapy and exercise in achieving wellness and independence.

5. The need to pursue community care models that allow people to stay in their own homes for as long as possible.

7. The health and longevity benefits of enhancing social exchange and friendship formation.

8. How future health care + shelter options for the frail aged should emphasize chronic care over acute care.

9. How the U.S. and world are struggling with unprecedented growth rates for those over 85 along with low fertility rates

10. China has the fastest-growing older-old population in the world.

To view the gallery, visit https://exhibitions.uscarch.com/housing-options-for-physically-andmentally-frail-older-people-that-promote-independence/.

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