Completed August 2005
Cube Housing Association
2006 Civic Trust Awards
The client's brief was to provide an 8-bed-space fully wheelchair accessible, high quality housing development to assist individuals with dementia allowing inde- pendent living, with site assistance and 24 hour care.
Academic research and detailed consultation with the Client and Alzheimer’s groups called upon in the development of the brief. Prime mover for the introduction of specific design features, ranging from externals through to kitchen cabinets, which tailor made the building to the site, client and brief requirements.
The building is arranged in 2 groups around a south facing communal courtyard to provide intimate and secure gathering space while creating direct visual connections between neighbours and staff. The boundary and entrance maintain a sense of freedom but with adequate security to prevent accidental wandering by tenants.
The shallow mono-pitch roofs allow in maximum daylight, and the contrasted colours help individuals find orientation easier. Introduction of underfloor heating systems and temperature zone limiters, allowing freedom for the tenants to vary their climate but removing the ability to overheat or under-heat.
The creation of the cloistered courtyard, creating an ex- ternal semi-covered space outside each house, which defines a continuous loop path. This path accommodates the desire of many people with Alzheimer’s to walk for long periods, also removing the risk of confusion at obstacles or change of direction.
Central laundry room, accessible to all tenants and staff emerged from the possible risk of accidental flooding in the individual households, providing a safe environment to wash clothes, subtly making it an informal gathering space, warmed by the machines and adjacent district heating boilers. The house plan is unconventionally open, with visual links between all spaces to assist with orientation.