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Making It Memorable

15 Dec 2005

Croftspar Place is a small development for people with dementia in Springboig, a residential area in the East End of Glasgow. The scheme, designed by Chris Stewart Architects, was the outcome of an invited competition run by Cube Housing Association and Glasgow City Council in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland.

The scheme provides eight two-person units, some communal facilities and a base for a warden, allowing residents to live independent lives, while having the security of having a warden on hand. The development has been designed to be deliberately reminiscent of a traditional Glasgow or West of Scotland house, as visual connections to the past are important for Alzheimer sufferers.

The buildings are arranged in two groups around a communal south-facing courtyard. The communal spaces created within provide an intimate and secure external gathering space while creating direct visual connections between neighbours and staff.
“The boundary and entrance was carefully considered to maintain a true sense of freedom and connection with the outside, while simultaneously providing adequate security to prevent accidental wandering by tenants,” project architect Adrian Stewart said. “At some point in the future it is intended to create a sensory garden with informal paths and seating in the central garden area,” he added.

The design was developed in response to academic research and detailed discussion with client and users. Specific design features were developed for a range of facilities from the external landscaping to the design of the kitchen cabinets. A cloister or semi-covered space outside each house, which link together to form a loop, was designed for the users. Many people with Alzheimer’s like to walk for long periods, but need to be able to walk somewhere where there are no obstacles or risk of confusion.Some study of the psychology of colour led to the inclusion of a primary-yellow entrance canopy, which identifies the entry and exit point and a primary-red aperture wall panel adjacent to the laundry.

The house plans are open and economically sized and are fully wheelchair accessible. Internal plan space standards are improved with higher than normal ceilings, which mimic the old tenements and allow diffused north light to pass through the house. Visual links between all spaces are very strong to assist with orientation. This is particularly important in the bedroom from where the toilet pan is directly visible, preventing possible confusion when waking from sleep. The £700,000 project was built using traditional cross-wall construction with highly insulated timber panels and generous openings at the front and back. The project has a central heating system and under-floor heating.

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