Cheuk Yuet Yiu, Ilinca Dospinescu, Yapeng Liang

Lost & Found – Co-Existence Neighbourhood

Dementia represents a crisis which affects people and their loved ones all over the world. Our thesis aims to find a response to the high demand of reducing costs in the residency and care sectors for individuals suffering of dementia, whilst improving their wellbeing and bringing people together through Architecture. Modern values, with the help of technology and design, encourage people to rethink the levels to which individuals without dementia should interact with those affected by it. We believe societies should come together resulting in a successful environment, where everyone is comfortable.

Our scheme proposes a masterplan adapted for a neighbourhood in an urban context, in which facilities and elements help improve symptoms for individuals with dementia. As a result, we test out ‘light- touch’ ideas with minimal interventions, combined with methods of creating a safe environment, to see if our theories could work and give an architectural response to the Global dementia crisis. These principles could be reapplied into different zones, in order to achieve dementia-friendly neighbourhoods supporting the quality of life of residents suffering with dementia.

In the United Kingdom, 850,000 people are diagnosed with dementia, but analysis shows by 2040 this number will increase to 1.6 million. For verifying our theories, we chose the city of Manchester for its intention of becoming “the best place in the world for people with dementia”. The Hulme area brings a significant value to the city’s residents due to its close location towards Manchester City Centre, and to its familiar landmarks – the Hippodrome & BBC Playhouse Theatres, Junction Hotel Pub – and other facilities. Anyone can enter the site, as we integrated soft boundaries which avoid the use of gates.

In order to apply appropriate programmes which aim to improve individuals’ wellbeing, we investigated the current treatment methods used: Medications, Cognitive Training, Therapies and Multi-Sensory Environments. Through our proposed facilities and design elements, our programmes focus on increasing social interaction, treating depression, and promoting physical activity, contributing to the residents’ quality of life and increasing their independence. This helps shape the neighbourhood into a vibrant one, whilst promoting a multitude of quiet spaces for relaxation. The suggested facilities also contribute to the wellbeing of people with other cognitive disabilities, such as autism, and help bring back the sense of a community. Consequently, the main elements of our project are:

  1. Co-Existence – care program involving neighbours
  2. Soft Edges – creating a secure neighbourhood without gates
  3. Green Spaces – encouraging wandering, physical activity, and improving quality of life through natural multi-sensory environments
  4. Care Home Centre – combating boredom, loneliness and helplessness in nursing homes
  5. Health Centre – promoting recurring health examinations & offering support for treating depression
  6. Adapted & Lifetime Homes – increasing residential independence for people living with dementia
  7. Hippodrome Community Hub – improving symptoms through therapeutic and interactive facilities