Supporting people with Alzheimer’s Disease to live at home results in a significantly higher quality of life. Approximately 5200 Londoners are under the age of 65 at the time of their diagnosis, which is called Young-Onset Alzheimers. These people often have young families, jobs and mortgages, making the typical institutional care system badly suited for them.
This thesis asks: how can the understanding of spatial perception changes in Alzheimers be applied architecturally to support people living with the disease and their families, extending independence within the community?
Alzheimers cannot be cured by architecture, however, qualities of the space can have a huge impact on symptoms. Crouch End town centre is the location for this pioneer project comprising 33 homes, 2 porters lodges and route-based landscaping. The location provides an ideal opportunity to test integration with existing community assets such as library and town hall. While the project is sensitively site specific, the ambition is that the research and design approach can be replicated and applied extensively throughout London, the UK and internationally.
Drawing from perspectives which differ to her own, Ellie looks inside and outside the profession for new ways to approach design problems. Her thesis project Nobody Wants To Live In A Care Home is rooted in an exploration of the spatial perception changes experienced as a result of Alzheimer’s Disease, applying research by neuroscientists and psychologists, while also championing the crucial first person accounts of health workers, people with Alzheimer’s and their families.
Translating across many different media, her process is always conscious of the first person experience of the space, which informs her approach to material, light and form.