No, we’re not talking about a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have a pregnancy. We’re talking about having a choice of where you do what you do.

Work – If you’re like me, then sometimes you like writing blog posts or sketching a floor plan in a coffee shop, and sometimes at my small meeting table in our office and sometimes I’m at home propped up in bed with a lap desk. That’s what I mean by choice. I can choose where I work. Office workers (WORK), shoppers (PLAY), older folks (AGE), homeowners (LIVE), and students (LEARN) all agree that choice is good. In offices, it’s important to have social spaces (like my coffee shop), collaborative spaces (like my meeting table) and quiet spaces (like my bedroom) from which to choose.

Play – For shoppers, the new trend in malls is to continue to offer a large variety of not only stores, but also restaurants (both fast and slow), as well as entertainment. Shoppers are expected to spend hours at the mall, shopping, eating, going to the movies. No wonder electric car charging at the mall makes sense – especially in inclement weather.

Age – Our seniors want choice, too. Some prefer to stay at home – even though it may be lonely. Others want to move to an apartment complex where there are other people around and where amenities like a pool and mini-golf make for an active lifestyle. Some not quite ready for assisted living folks want a place where there is a continuum of care, from an independent apartment with meals, to assisted living, to skilled nursing care. Some seniors wait too long to move from their primary home, and unless they have enough resources to pay for around the clock care, they are forced to go straight to skilled nursing care. Some seniors even choose to have no permanent housing, but RV or van around the country for odd jobs until they can’t do it any longer (see NPR interview with woman who wrote book). We have seen a huge increase in the number of aging seniors who choose to stay active, both mentally and physically. The demand for better and more choices finally coming as the leading edge of Boomers are approaching 80. (“Finally,” because the Boomers didn’t retire at 65 as predicted). These 80-year-olds see another 20 years ahead of them. They are not like our grandparents.

Live – People who live in private homes have been upsizing and downsizing in recent years. To some, size matters little, while amenities and efficient layouts do. Some folks want specialized spaces, and some people want every space to work in multiple ways. I guess if everyone wanted the same thing, there would be one official house-style that every builder would use (and maybe you wouldn’t need an architect).

Learn – Learning happens every day in many ways. At LS&A, we have collaborated with other architects, as well as designed on our own. We learned that students learn and study in many ways. Some like big group tables, some prefer a private carrel. Some students would rather sit in a big lounge chair with their feet up on an ottoman. Some like noisy areas and some require silence. And some would rather study in a dorm room or apartment rather than in the library. That being said, several librarians have shared with us that after our renovations, the student population utilizing the library in person has doubled. They say this is specifically noticeable at times that are not during exam weeks. We believe that providing students with more choice attracts them to the library, which in turn helps build community.

So whether you need to improve the spaces in which you work, play, age, live, or learn, Leslie Saul & Associates can help provide the choices you want.

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