A Year in Review

Lenity Architecture Christmas_Studio Absolute

Bringing a mission and vision statement to life is not a singular, momentous action but rather, hundreds of brushstrokes that work together to form a work of art. Transforming words on a plaque into reality for your team and clients requires perseverance and a shared enthusiasm for the values that your company holds dear.

In 2014, we took measure of the responsibilities that come with being one of Oregon’s fastest growing companies. We placed special emphasis on caring for our staff team like family, putting our clients’ needs first, and strengthening our solidarity as a team. We strived to build upon our strengths, learn from our challenges, and empower our team to ensure our clients’ success.

Pausing to reflect on our work throughout the year was like taking a step back to examine a painting’s progress. We asked the team what the highlights were and their shared enthusiasm forms a picture of the great potential 2015 has in store for Lenity Architecture and our clients. Below are a few of their highlights from the year.

“There has been a real sense of ownership in each of the departments and it seems to me people are pulling together to achieve our common goals.”

“Happy clients!”

“Issuance of the first Lenity Architecture Magazine.”

“Tremendous growth of our commercial division.”

“Climbing, striving, reaching higher.”

“The willingness of ALL of us to work together as a TEAM was the highlight for me. We’ve had a lot of
fun and exciting projects this year and they were all made possible because of the TEAM spirit that
was put forth.”

Also cited were permitting and zoning approvals that required a team effort, new clients & project types, and a key factor in our success–potlucks, flag football and treats in the kitchen!

For any company, large or small, living up to your mission and vision means rigorous dedication towards the high standards by which your company sets itself apart. It’s a way of thinking that illuminates each step and provides a guiding light when factors like an unruly economy may fog up your path.

We hope 2014 was a year of clarity, progress and success for you and your team. Merry Christmas, and may the New Year unveil more possibilities than you ever dreamed possible.

Honoring Seniors the Lenity Way

As we enjoy the endless sugar cookies, sparkling lights and priceless time with family–our hearts are also with the seniors living in the buildings we design this holiday season.

There is no equivalent to being surrounded by family in the comfort of our own home. There are no rivals to the nostalgia of signature family dishes passed down from generations of grandmothers–enjoyed once around the holiday table, and then again as a midnight snack (aka the additional “sliver” of pumpkin pie that we all know is really a hearty slice!). It’s hard to imagine a day where our family customs may be exchanged, at least in part, for the reassurance of safety and prompt access to medical care. Yet, that is the case for thousands of seniors whose celebration of the holidays has evolved in tandem with their transition into retirement living and senior care communities.

Our hope is that seniors are able to stay independent and in the comfort of their own home as long as possible–whether it’s at the address where they’ve raised a family or that of a retirement community which supports their current lifestyle and needs.

Rio Grande

As seniors’ needs begin to shift towards a higher level of care, our buildings are designed to support them every step of the way. And while they may not be the same walls their children’s heights are scrawled on, they are walls thoughtfully designed to provide a comfortable extension of home. They are walls that represent so much more than the materials they are comprised of. To seniors and their families, the senior living communities we design represent peace of mind, quality of life, friendship and laughter.

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”

Sarah Dessen, Author

The word “Lenity” means the quality of being mild or gentle towards others. We strive to live up to our name by creating spaces where seniors feel loved, supported and safe. We create spaces where the transition to community life is gentle and changes to seniors’ independence are as mild as possible. Honoring seniors in the best way we know how–through the gifts of our team–is the Lenity Way.

As the Lenity Architecture team closes out this year and begins a new one, we’re grateful for the people who give our work special meaning and significance. We are thankful for our amazing clients, the building managers and staff whose caring knows no bounds, and the remarkable individuals who live within the walls we help build.

Thank you, and happy holidays from the Lenity Architecture family.

Lenity Staff 2014_SM

The Stories Inside the Walls We Help Build

By Brent Stuntzner, Associate Construction Manager at Lenity Architecture

This time of the year I find myself reflecting on my life and especially on the relationships I’ve developed over the years. I have been fortunate to have lived in many places, to have had many unusual and rewarding experiences and to have met so many good people. Above all else, I’ve learned that every person has a unique story to tell and that those stories deserve to be shared with others.

My childhood was spent in a small town in Iowa. In the early years my father was an art professor at a local private college and my mother worked as manager/fundraiser for the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra. Later, my father took a job at the local state-run mental health institute (MHI) as the Patient Activities Director and some of my earliest childhood memories include accompanying my dad to work – a place that was both terrifying and fascinating to a young boy. The mother of my childhood friend, Brian, also worked at the MHI and sometimes the two of us would be there–playing basketball in the gymnasium, snacking at the cafeteria, making things in the crafts room or just wandering the halls of the facility looking for things to keep us occupied. For those who have seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, one can imagine what the institution was like. There were rooms caged-off from the corridors with patients in pajamas and bathrobes trying to pass the time. Instead of Nurse Ratched, however, the wards were manned by people like my father and Brian’s mother–people that genuinely cared for the health, well-being and recovery of the patients therein. And instead of the criminally insane, the MHI was the home for hundreds of adults that suffered from various mental and emotional disabilities, including the intellectually disabled, dementia and substance dependency.

I remember one patient in particular, though I no longer remember his name.  He was probably in his 20s at the time, was missing his front teeth, and was intellectually disabled. My friend Brian and I would seek him out anytime we were together at the hospital because the young man was so kind and friendly. Sometimes we would find him in the cafeteria, and Brian and I would join him. I don’t recall what we would talk about but I do recall being very fond of this young man who was so delighted by the simple things in life. I never heard his life story but it undoubtedly would have included his time at the MHI–a place that afforded him both safety and security.

A patient’s life must have been terribly lonely even with the ongoing activities, parties, and trips my father would organize for his wards. Many patients appreciated when Brian and I would visit and would invite us to play checkers or pull up a chair to chat. I don’t remember the games or conversations anymore but I do recall the faces. They were the faces of unique individuals–each a with a fascinating story to tell.

At home, my family and I lived a simple life. Unlike so many of my childhood friends who had relatives all over town, my extended family was far away. Next door, however, lived the Spooners–an elderly couple who took a liking to me. I spent countless hours at their house eating popcorn and watching reruns of The Lawrence Welk Show on a black and white TV. With my own grandparents hundreds of miles away, Ethel and Lloyd Spooner were like my surrogate grandparents and would entertain me with imaginative games, golfing, stories and plenty of watermelon.

Young Brent with Mr. Spooner

Young Brent with Mr. Spooner

After Lloyd passed, Ethel remained in her home for several years before moving to a nursing home–a bland and sterile place. This new place had none of the hominess of the corner brick house she shared with Lloyd for so many years. My family would visit her from time to time and on one occasion she shared with me a synopsis of her life. Ethel was not native to Iowa, but had come to Iowa with her parents in a wagon from some easterly place. Ethel grew up on a farm and was introduced to an urban existence upon marrying Lloyd. Between her birth and death, Ethel Spooner lived through the beginnings of the automobile, the airplane and space travel and felt fortunate to have experienced an era of such rich discovery.

As a college student, I relocated to Portland, Oregon where my maternal grandparents lived. By this time, they had moved to Willamette View Manor–a multi-story retirement home overlooking the Willamette River that had facilities for independent apartment living, assisted living, and memory care. I would often come visit for Sunday brunch in the Manor’s dining room. It was a far cry from the nursing homes that I had experienced in my childhood–which was a great relief! My grandparents, Polly and Ivan Wurster, were social butterflies and loved to invite other residents to join us for brunch. Polly was a very bright person who enjoyed stimulating conversation and Ivan was a preeminent storyteller. Together, with a cadre of their interesting friends, our table was always abuzz with meaningful conversation and captivating stories. Polly and Ivan were rich in friends and companionship in those later years and Willamette View Manor helped provide for them the place and opportunity.

Brent with Mr. and Mrs. Worsters

Brent with his grandparents, Ivan and Polly Wurster

So, here I am now, getting near to my 2-year anniversary with Lenity Architecture and I feel fortunate. I’m fortunate because my employers remind me of my own family–people who care about the welfare of those we serve. I feel fortunate because my coworkers and I are able to play a part in offering dignified places for people to live out their later years. And I feel fortunate because I get to share in the stories of others. The facilities designed by Lenity Architecture are taking the place of the mental health facilities and nursing homes of the past. The locked cages are gone and the sterile environments are replaced by spaces designed to be comfortable and familiar–truly an extension of home. By now I have visited many Lenity Architecture projects in different stages of completion including a few facilities which have begun to accept residents. I have even overheard a few memorable stories. It makes me happy to see residents living in buildings that afford them the dignity they deserve and I look forward to hearing many more of their stories in the years to come.

Lenity Architecture Featured in Oregon Architect

OregonArchitect_Fall

In the News – Bend Branch and the New Website

Lenity Architecture made the news headlines with the opening of our new Bend Branch and the launch of our new website. That’s lots of… um, news!

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