At Corgan, we’re always thinking ahead. Sometimes way ahead. By 2030, the Census Bureau predicts that about 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older. As part of CorganCREATE, a multi-disciplinary team set out to understand how an elderly person or someone with limited mobility gets around. “As our country changes and the demographic shifts to an older population, we need to make sure we’re designing with those folks in mind," said Mike Steiner, an Associate at Corgan.
The primary tool for this research was the GERT suit (short for gerontology), which simulates an additional 40 years of age for the person wearing the suit. Team members put on the suit to walk through four Corgan-designed buildings – Dallas Love Field Airport, Daugherty Elementary, Moncrief Cancer Institute and our Dallas headquarters – and recorded the findings. The opportunity for designers to experience buildings as a mobility-impaired person would increases their knowledge and leads to the incorporation of more accessible and usable spaces for everyone. Elizabeth Gruett, from Corgan's Interior Design studio said, "The most interesting and perplexing experience was the mental component, which I wasn’t necessarily expecting…. How wearing the suit and not being able to see well or move quickly, how that affected me and my self-consciousness or anxiety about how other people perceive me.”
"This project has made Corgan a better place," says Mike Steiner, who wrote the research report with Francie Abell and Landon Moore. "If Corgan becomes a better place, then the projects we make will be better. Ultimately, we’re trying to build spaces that people enjoy and can thrive in,” he said.
Read what Jonathan Massey, principal in the aviation market sector, writes about the research in Airport World magazine, and watch the video below.