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Medal Winner 2023

Nobody Wants to Live in a Care Home

Part 2 Project 2023
Ellie Harding
London School of Architecture | UK
‘People with a today and a tomorrow, not just a yesterday’
- London Assembly for Young-Onset Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is not limited to the elderly. Supportive housing options fail to reflect this, meaning people diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer’s can be faced with a difficult choice - to remain in unsuitable housing or to move into residential care - often compounded by the needs of their young families. This project enables families to continue living together, in the centre of their communities, and with access to the same public buildings.

Architecture cannot cure Alzheimer’s. However, an architectural understanding of the spatial confusion associated with the disease presents an opportunity to radically reimagine a design approach for dementia spaces, prioritising quality of life and cognitive accessibility. This has been informed by the distinction between egocentric and allocentric spatial cognition: whereas a healthy brain takes egocentric, or point-of-view route-based spatial information, and forms an allocentric, or bird’s-eye cognitive map, studies of Alzheimer’s show this translation begins to break down, causing increased reliance on egocentric perception. This project asks how an architectural understanding of the effects of Alzheimer’s on spatial perception can be used to create better spaces for those living with the disease.

Ellie Harding

Tutor(s)
Fabrizio Matillana
Kit Stiby-Harris
2023
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