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2015 Design for Aging Awards Now Closed

The Design for Aging Review program, a joint effort of the AIA and LeadingAge, includes a juried exhibition, a companion book, and education programs. The program encompasses a broad view of facilities designed for senior citizens, including nursing homes, dementia care, assisted living, and continuing care retirement communities. 

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Awards, Publications, Competitions

Design for Aging Review

The DFAR is a biannual competition and publication showcasing facilities that improve quality of life for the aging while exhibiting innovation in their design and execution.  Learn more about the Design for Aging Review. The DFAR12 book is now available.

New Urban Models for Aging Student Competition

This competition posed a unique challenge – design an intergenerational project that includes housing for frail elders and is an integral part of an urban community. It provided students an opportunity to learn about a project type that is part of a burgeoning market and in need of innovation. Recipient project urbanCARE by Sangolli Akshay will appear in the DFAR11 edition View the archived competition guidelines.

Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) Resources

Evaluator's Tool Kit

A POE is “structured hindsight” to review and criti que the design and operati ons of senior-living communities. Aft er a facility is open with residents and staff in place, there is an opportunity to review the design team’s original assumpti ons and to assess whether goals have been met. It is a chance to observe the interacti on of residents and staff and to evaluate how the design promotes that interaction. Download the toolkit.

Design for Aging Post-Occupancy Evaluations Book

What is a postoccupancy evaluation (POE)? What can we learn to improve our design of senior living environments? The book features well-researched post-occupancy evaluations for 21 senior living facilities previously featured in the Design for Aging Review and four comparative Scandinavian senior living facilities. This publication is loaded with data and examples of well-considered design solutions. Purchase the book online.

Data Mining Reports

Insights and innovation is an initiative to evaluate and report on the substantial data collected from the Design for Aging Review, a bi-annual design competition. Beginning with the 9th cycle in 2008, data has been collected on a diverse range of distinguished senior living and care facilities located in the United States and internationally.

The purpose of these research projects are to describe patterns and statistics from the data; and share the findings with architects. A second part of the projects is to assess the submission form questions and the quality of the data received to determine how to improve the DFAR Design Competition submittal process to produce usable and informative data in the future.


   Design For Aging Review 12
   Insights and Innovations

  This project is supported with a grant
  from the AIA and a matching
  contribution from Perkins Eastman.


Design for Aging Review 11:
Insights and Innovations

The third consecutive design competition analysis performed by the Perkins Eastman Research Collaborative.

Design for Aging Review 10
Insights and Innovations:
The State of Senior Housing

December 2010

The second consecutive design competition analysis performed by the Perkins Eastman Research Collaborative, the DFAR10 Insights Study evaluated over 90 leading-edge senior living projects from around the country, as well as several international projects. The study identified commonalities that reflect larger-scale trends and unique features that challenge those trends.

Design for Aging Review 9
Data Mining Findings

October 2008

The DFAR9 Data Mining study was conducted by the Perkins Eastman Research Collaborative; and analyzed data collected by DFA’s first web-based submission process for their ninth biennial DFAR design competition. The study took into account all 72 projects submitted to the design competition, with particular attention paid to the 36 award recipients at different times during the analysis. The study received the AIA/LeadingAge Design for Aging Publication Award for research in 2009.


  • Latest Version of Design Guidelines for the Visual Environment

    Since the Low Vision Design Committee was first convened in 2011 under the auspices of the National Institute of Building Sciences and with the support of the Hulda B. & Maurice L. Rothschild Foundation, this task force has stayed true to their initial objective. Their recent publication, Design Guidelines for the Visual Environment, is designed to inform the regulatory and design communities about the challenges experienced by low vision populations and to provide specific design recommendations regarding the visual environment in order to afford equal access to all facilities through universal design principles.

Latest Discussions

  • Posted in: Design for Aging

    From room service, to restaurants, to “on the road” concepts including breakfast in bed, snack carts, and happy hours, we are interested in how these and other dining concepts are being...

  • Posted in: Design for Aging

    Join us at LeadingAge for a reception to honor the Design for Aging Review 13 award winners. It will be held in conjunction with a Celebrate the Voices event sponsored by the Boston Society of Architects...

  • Posted in: Design for Aging

    The next Blueprint's theme will focus on how nature is incorporated into building design for the aging community. Dwellings enclose and protect us from the elements but they can also house, frame and...

Blueprints for Senior Living

Blueprints for Senior Living is the AIA Design for Aging's quarterly electronic newsletter. The goal of this publication is to provide information that helps our members better understand upcoming events and their content and offer access to related organizations and articles on pertinent topics concerning seniors housing and care. Through the newsletter, we aim to let you, our members, know what is happening in the community as well as offer you a platform for sharing your expertise with the community. View the newsletter archive now.

Latest Resources

Latest Blogs

  • Posted in: Design for Aging

    I recently presented this topic to a group of caregivers in Williamsburg, Virginia. Yes, caregiving - as in what some of you may be doing right now while balancing your busy careers with caring for... more

    1 person recommends this.
  • Posted in: Design for Aging

    Wei Wu, Ph.D., LEED AP BD+C, Department of Construction Management, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA 30458. Email: , Tel: (912) 478-0542 The story went back... more

  • Posted in: Design for Aging

    Architects can design homes, but not families. We can only design spaces as stages for stories to take place. Likewise, the blueprint for senior living involves space planning for a safe environment,... more

    1 person recommends this.