Senior living design is still gaining traction as a focused area of study in many architectural studies programs across the country, so for a firm like AG where senior living is the primary focus, in-house education is required. We are fortunate to have a seasoned team of senior living experts, so who better to teach the next generation of the firm. Village Pointe Commons in Grafton, WI, a local and award-winning project, provided the perfect classroom setting this summer for project management and design focused tours.

The Project Management Tour, led by Tracey Schnick and Mike Miller, gave the newest AG team members insight into The AG Way, how our team is recognized for bringing certainty and predictability to the construction process. The AG Team pulls together comprehensive drawing packages and details, so the tour allowed Tracey and Mike to highlight important details, codes and considerations for senior living construction. This focused tour provided a platform for open discussions that further supports the construction document preparation happening on a daily basis.

The Design Tour, led by Eric Harrmann, provided the opportunity for our youngest team members to gain insight on the design process of Village Pointe Commons as well as a chance to interact with staff and residents. Who better to learn from than the people living and working in the community every day. The full day event began with an overview of the design process in order to share project challenges and explain how the design concept evolved. The group then enjoyed coffee and conversation with a group of residents in the lounge area of the community’s Lime Kiln Cafe to learn more about daily life at Village Pointe Commons. Some of the residents joined the group on a tour of the community and welcomed The AG Team into their homes. The tour allowed the group to see the design come to life and understand how spaces were really being used. Lunch with the staff dug deeper into the actual use of the spaces and areas for future consideration. The day was concluded with a tour of one of the Casettas, a unique independent living product that explores cohousing concepts.

Coffee and conversation with residents at Village Pointe Commons

In the following weeks, the group reflected on their experience and had the opportunity to share lessons learned during a lunchtime recap discussion. For some of the tour participants, this tour was their first time experiencing life in a Memory Support household, learning about operational efficiencies directly from staff members and experiencing the sights and sounds that result from MEP decisions. It was also a great way to see architectural details come to life, how material and finish transitions can be improved or further explained in construction document details.

Design Tour at Village Pointe Commons

“Our experience at Village Pointe Commons allowed us to see firsthand the sense of community we helped create,” says Jesse Rhodes, an AG team member and tour participant. “This was a unique opportunity to see the practical use of the spaces, an opportunity that can inform the design of future projects.”

Casetta Tour at Village Pointe Commons

As these young professionals continue to immerse themselves in the world of senior living and gain construction knowledge, this tour, and more to come, helps give them a greater voice in the process.

“We want them to understand what they are drawing and with this firsthand knowledge it allows them to ask more informed questions and deepens their understanding of why we do things the way we do,” says Harrmann. “We also hope this experience encourages them to come up with new ideas, knowing now how thoughts on paper impact the daily life of the people they are designing for. In the case of senior living, how those decisions can impact health and well-being or encourage an active lifestyle.”


A big thank you to Capri Senior Communities and the staff and residents of Village Pointe Commons for supporting this learning experience!