Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.Arch.

Degree Granting Department

Architecture and Community Design

Major Professor

Michael Halflants, M.Arch.

Keywords

Puerto Rico, Elderly, Interaction, Aguadilla

Abstract

There is an underlying hope that those whom are elderly can exist in a place of happiness, comfort, security and familiarity; and can do so by aging in a place which complies with an understanding of their needs as older adults. However, along with aging comes a negative association of dependence and deterioration. Therefore, it is intuitive to have a connection between both the aging process and the design process. Creating a product which brings a positive association with senior housing and aging in place is the underlying goal within the project and overall design. With the increasing population of those 65 and older, there is a higher need for the placement of individuals who can no longer live independently or those who do not have family available to care for them. More specifically, the views of caring for elderly within Latin American cultures have a highly negative connotation towards the placement of older relatives outside of their proper family home.

So how does the problem of increasing need for senior housing become solved with those who reject the idea of senior housing facilities and nursing homes? In order to change the perception of senior housing within Latin America, there needs to be an element of identity and familiarity to the home. It is that sense of identity and familiarity which will produce a product of belonging and comfort that promotes a positive lifestyle within senior housing. In order to directly address the Latin American culture, the proposed site will be located in an island which shares both United States values and views along with their own rich culture and history. Designing within the tropical conditions and cultural traditions of Puerto Rico will give its elderly a new and essential residential typology.

It is extremely important to choose an environment which is beginning to acknowledge the change in demographic and economy that requires a more positive form of assisted living facilities and senior housing. Through a methodology which involves analyzing Puerto Rican cultural elements and conditions, the thesis will result into an understanding of cultural spatial traditions and customs. Accordingly, by taking these cultural conditions and implementing them into an senior housing program, it will bring a sense of home and place which is not found in the majority of elderly housing facilities within Puerto Rico.

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