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(Re)becoming Self

Part 1 Project 2023
Alex Loombe
Norwich University of the Arts Norwich | UK
(Re)becoming Self investigates the identities of those affected by dementia, exploring the notion of memory loss through the lens of Freud’s ‘das Unheimlich’.

The proposal reconsiders how society views and treats those who have a distorted perception of habitual memory and therefore experience a loss of sense of SELF.

The programme involves two main users, the person affected by dementia, and their loved ones and carers, and challenges the way in which those affected by dementia are socially stigmatised and perceived as ‘objects’ by those who surround them and act as ‘subjects’.

The experience of the architectural space by the dementia patient aims to (re)ground their body through spaces that combine care and domesticity; the non-dementia user is invited into an experiential space that simulates the affects of memory loss on spatial orientation.

The surface spaces house up to ten people with early-stage dementia, and offer access to care, communal gardens, art studios, and reading and family rooms. Below ground counselling rooms are intertwined with performance rooms aimed at disorientating the visitors. The two experiences come together in the theatre, where dementia user, family member, carer and performer meet in a space where anybody can be someone OTHER to themselves.

Alex Loombe


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