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As he neared age 40 the architect Matthias Hollowich began to grapple with his profession’s inadequate response to aging: “old people go here and young people go somewhere else.” Skyler is Hollowich’s architectural prototype for a mixed-use skyscraper that questions this classic aging typology, visualizing principles laid out in his 2016 book New Aging: Living Smarter Now to Live Better Forever. The tower offers housing for intergenerational residents from children to working adults to seniors with a mix of different types of units ranging from micro studios to maximize economy to pooled apartments that eliminate isolation to duplexes that act as single-family homes.

The building’s communal spaces include a business continuation center to promote active lifestyles for retirees, a daycare center for small children, an infirmary for those in need of extra care, and a health center for all residents. Instead of segregated communities and assisted living facilities, the amenities and residences are interwoven through the structure to emulate a neighborhood or small city with corresponding social activation that enables residents to nurture informal support systems. Hollowich hopes that the existence of such supportive, aging-in-clusive communities could reduce the frequency of older people moving into assisted living facilities and nursing homes where they face social isolation. Furthermore, the architect argues that, in an extension of the tenants of Universal Design to the aging population, if you design for older people, you can create spaces that are good for everyone.

Rendering of a city skyline with two skyscrapers towering above smaller buildings.
Image: HKWN.

Visual Description

A rendering of a city skyline is centered on a long avenue that stretches into the distance. Buildings surround the avenue, with smaller buildings sitting in shadow and the taller buildings receiving plenty of light. The buildings are rendered in neutral colors and are largely made up of rectilinear forms. Two skyscrapers tower over the rest of the buildings. The tower on the right has a unique, fluid shape and a tripartite top. The skyscraper on the left reaches further into the sky. It has a rectangular shape with an antenna reaching the top frame of the rendering.


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