Studio R: rethinking the experience of aging with autonomy

Published by on behalf of the sprint master Tatiana Coelho

Imagining how can a living space age with its tenants and enable them to be more independent

Studio R is an architecture office that develops multifunctional spaces with strong architecture references and sensibility to contemporary matters. Founded in 2008, Studio R has been working with retail, corporate, and industrial segments since its beginning. By aligning architecture with multidisciplinary technical skills needed for each project, Studio R also offers services regarding management and compatibility for complementary projects.

Creating independence in the way of life

By looking at the increasing number of active elderly in Brazil and all the difficulties they’re facing, the teams worked together to define the challenge. How could a residence age with its tenants and enable them to be more independent from relatives, while being viable and affordable for the middle-class?

Understanding the aging process

After we analyzed the relation between the elderly and housing, we realized that as people age they start looking for more convenience and coziness by promoting small changes to their residence. In addition, these people rarely wish for big or abrupt changes of housing in this moment of their lives. Their residence is their greatest achievement and a part of their history. There is a strong emotional bond between the residence, its furniture, its objects, and their owners.

One of the most important insights captured was that our residence should translate the feeling of home, of a household. It should distance itself from the retirement home stereotype and should not be only for the elderly. Last but not least, for the residents to have access to services aligned to their needs in this moment of life, the residence’s surroundings should have a distinct set of services at accessible rates.

Shared spaces

One of the biggest factors that influenced and permeated the Sprint was our research and studies regarding the current trend of shared spaces & services. This subject is becoming constant in discussions regarding resource consumption and social interactions. It was embraced by the work team from beginning to end and thoroughly analyzed for different applications and interactions. After co-creation sessions with users and stakeholders, we saw how complex the general conception of the matter became.

One thing is certain, there is a new generation of people aware of this new approach and the future of any business needs to address the premises of the sharing movement, which is changing quickly and increasing demands.

“Process was really painful but helped me understand important points that otherwise would make me spend a lot of money.”

Flávia Ranieri, owner of Studio R


  • Nobody is old! As we grow up, we face countless questions without proper answers, such as “What’s the meaning of life?” or “Who came first?”. You can add one more to the list, “What’s an elderly?”
  • Someone might think people in the same age clusters have the same behaviors. As general belief, young people might be more hyperactive and irresponsible or elderly people more calm or patient, thus creating stereotypes. Our research showed us there is a whole universe of different behaviors in every cluster, even the “more aged” ones.
  • An elderly person rarely intends to move to another home only by the matter of it. Despite impairments created in the space due the aging process, the emotional bond with the house where a person raised its family and wrote its history is too deep.