Seya is a senior associate technologist, working within our ‘living’ sector. This sector encompasses anywhere a person sleeps, predominantly residential, senior living and student accommodation. Seya’s specialism is in age-friendly housing for older people.
Her drive derives from her belief that all people have the right to access, live and interact with a healthy and sustainable built environment. The challenge is not only in creating a beautiful building but the measure of success found in how much people enjoy to spend time in our spaces.
Seya is a trained Passivhaus designer and champions robust fabric first in all her work. She has a firm belief that we should continually keep learning and practices can always be improved. This has led her to a keen interest in smart manufacture, speculating what the future holds for design and construction as co-lead of our DfMA team.
Seya also acts as a technical champion, sitting on the steering group addressing best practice directives and tackling industry challenges with particular emphasis on fire protection detail design post Grenfell.
What are the big challenges facing the senior living sector?
Similarly to many other sectors, funding and availability of appropriate land are key barriers to senior living development. Lack of planning policy supporting residential institutions (C2) is also a concern. However, one of the largest challenges is ageism. The built environment is rarely designed to be age friendly, inhibiting access into the community, heightening the loneliness endemic.
Only 4% of the older population live within specialist housing, there is an immense shortage and the current housing stock has limited ability to adapt in order to prolong independent living. Accidents in the home often effects a move into specialist housing, rather than an aspirational move.
Ageism within the internal demographic is also difficult to overcome. Specialist housing has to cater for a vast disparity in care needs under one roof. However, sensitivity of seeing deterioration in others can cause upset when aspiring to live independently into old age. This calls for a drive towards all housing being highly flexible, coping with perpetual adaptation without detrimental aesthetic impact.
What inspired you to pursue architecture?
Both my parents are Architects. I spent my youth roaming my parent’s self-build site, helping my father fulfil the role of architect, site manager and construction worker in one. I became handy with a hammer whilst simultaneously setting my path into the industry.
What is your favourite hobby?
Sport is a large part of my life, following most keenly football and cricket. I love to get out on the golf course, it provides me with access to greenery in the city, a yearning from my childhood spent in the welsh countryside.
- Chartered member of CIAT
McCarthy and Stone, Southern Property Awards 2017