Siobhan Farvardin, Global practice director, senior living, and principal, HKS Inc. (Dallas)

Siobhan Farvardin, Global practice director, senior living, and principal, HKS Inc. (Dallas)

Photo credit: Daryl Shields

Siobhan Farvardin says she found her calling in senior living design after spending several years and jobs designing buildings in other practices, including commercial office, residential, and education. When she joined HKS in 2020, she was named global practice director, senior living—a role that’s enabled her to use her expertise to drive a senior-living focus to important research topics related to the industry.

For example, in her study “Fostering Community and Combating Loneliness in Senior Living Design,” she used an evidence-based model to prove that amenities outside the walls of a community are just as vital as those inside. For example, providing spaces off primary walking areas lowers the barrier to entry and welcomes people to join in shared activities. Small choices like these, her study notes, empower senior residents to have some control in their lives, which helps build confidence, keeps them engaged, and eases feelings of loneliness.

Legacy Midtown Park, Dallas and evidence-based design

She employs an evidence-based approach in her project work, as well, to deliver homelike senior living environments that incorporate cultural sensitivity and shared amenity spaces. For Legacy Midtown Park in Dallas, which opened in January 2021, she created shared spaces for engagement and indoor/outdoor dining to give residents choices and opportunities to enhance well-being.

Farvardin’s design approach also utilizes the positive effects of nature on residents’ health, well-being, feelings of comfort, and trust between neighbors. Her work with Stone Creek at Flying Horse included nature trails that connect a variety of hybrid homes, independent living flats, and assisted living and memory care units, allowing for an inclusive community setting that supports different activities.

Within the firm, she’s focused on building a team that shares her passion for the industry and is culturally diverse, representing different ages, ethnicities, and cultures, to deliver designs that are sensitive for aging environments. She also serves on committees including Urban Land Institute North Texas and the 2022 AIA Design for Aging Knowledge Community Advisory Group and speaks at conferences to share her knowledge and research, helping to raise the bar across the industry.

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Anne DiNardo is executive editor of Environments for Aging and can be reached at