New book celebrates 30 years of dementia design architecture

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Two women sat next to each other. The younger one is showing the other elderly lady something in a book.

An internationally renowned dementia centre is celebrating its three decades of dedication to improving the lives of those living with dementia through design, by launching a new architectural compendium.

The Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) based at the University of Stirling, is releasing Architecture of Dementia: Stirling Gold 2008-2020, a compendium illustrating the shifting attitudes and aesthetics of dementia design. It features a range of buildings across the globe which the DSDC’s specialists have awarded the Stirling Gold standards to for their dementia inclusive design.

The DSDC, which was established in 1989, is a leading centre of knowledge and expertise and draws on the latest research and practice from across the world, to provide up to date resources on all aspects of dementia. Its in-house team of architects and interior designers travel the world to provide advice on dementia design and audit buildings, rating their environmental design and providing a dementia-friendly scoring of Bronze, Silver or Gold.

This new book covers twelve years of the existence of the DSDC Design Audit Tool, a first of its kind system, and the care homes, community buildings and assisted living sites across the world which have benefitted. Each project shows off the solutions of designing dementia-inclusive environments whilst taking in to account regional variations in care, societal attitude, and economies.

The buildings which feature in the book include:

  • Meadow View Community Care Centre, Darley Dale, UK – Exemplary in both architectural design and dementia design, shown through receiving the RIBA Regional Award 2017 for the East Midlands.
  • Creer Residence Yokohama Tokaichiba, Japan – This project featured the first ever contrasting toilet seats developed by Japanese manufacturers TOTO.
  • Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub, Warrington, UK – The first public building to be awarded a ‘gold’ by the DSDC. This complex multi-functional building aims to provide an inclusive experience for the visitor to bring the community together.

Architecture for Dementia book cover  

Architecture of Dementia: Stirling Gold 2008-2020 can be pre-ordered online at the John Smith’s student store.

Lesley Palmer, Chief Architect, at the DSDC, said: “We are proud to be marking World Alzheimer’s Month and reflecting back on the achievements of our team over 30 years. Since its inception, the DSDC has driven major changes in design and policy and continues to support communities to become dementia-friendly.

“Research has proven that good design enables people with dementia, to enjoy a greater quality of life and remain independent for longer. Since the development of our Audit tool, we have worked in 23 countries, advised on more than 350 projects globally and accredited 80 buildings, 30 of which have been awarded our ‘Gold’ status.”

The specialist centre has also announced the appointment of three new Design Associates to its team. Kirsty Bennett and Debbie De Fiddes, founders of the Evoke Collective – an Australian based organisation committed to creating enabling environments for older people - and Terri Preece, will join the DSDC working on projects in Australia.

Lesley Palmer added: “There is currently an estimated 50 million people living with dementia around the world, a figure expected to double in 20 years, so we know that there is an immediate need to invest in the ageing population, provide improved services and ensure all our care settings, public buildings and communities meet the needs of those living with dementia.”

The DSDC is currently working on an updated version of its Dementia Design Audit Tool which it expects to release before the end of the year.