Supported living for people with dementia

Todd Architects has completed The Croft, a state-of-the-art supported living development specifically designed for people living with early stage dementia.

Todd Architects worked with Choice Housing, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and the NI Executive to develop and deliver the bespoke scheme located in the Abbots Cross area of Newtownabbey. The 24 new build self-contained apartments are arranged as a village, encouraging residents to follow a conventional life pattern, designed for their safety, therapy, wellbeing and ease of accessibility.

The design surpasses current standards for supported housing and dementia care, setting a new precedent of quality, enabling people with a care need to continue to live independently in the community, with the completed building providing a bright, secure and pleasant place in which to live.

"Todd Architects worked with Choice Housing to create The Croft, a new supported living scheme that will boost the housing options for those diagnosed with early stage dementia in the Newtownabbey area.

"The positive partnership with Todd Architects has provided an exemplar build setting a new standard for design in supported housing and independent living," says Paula Conway, senior development officer, Choice Housing Ltd.

The Croft residential arrangement is intended to function as a village community, containing a central social hub where communal facilities are located. The hub is linked via four internal street branches to clusters of six apartments or ‘communities', each with their own shared social spaces and benefitting from shared private road access.

The architecture is modern while domestically familiar in scale, and widely accessible. The scheme design is aimed to combat any stigma associated with supported living and dementia healthcare, providing excellent facilities and a welcoming environment which is safe, comfortable, and attractive. There are three different types of apartment which vary in size and layout depending on the resident's needs.

All apartments have been designed to Lifetime Home Standards, with colour incorporated to aid wayfinding. Each apartment has its own external front door allowing for independent access. Visitors not accessing the apartments directly can enter the building via the easily identified reception space. A shared communal lounge has been located next to this reception area, in close proximity to the staff zone behind.

The scheme offers a durable, easily maintained and environmentally-friendly solution, providing a sense of autonomy for residents, with controls for optimum lighting and ventilation and excellent acoustics for privacy and dignity. A warden call system has been installed in the communal area and apartments.

The landscaping has been carefully considered to allow for accessibility and limited maintenance, encouraging its residents to follow a conventional life pattern. The courtyards have been positioned between apartment clusters, offering each apartment direct access to the landscaped gardens and spaces. The apartments will be available from February 2019, with each availing of car parking provision located within close proximity.

The main entrance faces the central courtyard and is linked to each cluster of apartments and gardens via a main internal street. Entrance and admissions offer a generous and easily identifiable reception space that optimises natural daylight and offers garden panoramas. The shared communal break-out facilities and amenity spaces are located along the main internal street to encourage interaction to take place between residents.

The design incorporates a great deal of transparency with its glazed internal walkways and meeting alcoves, which offer external views, generous light penetration, clear wayfinding and allows for effective observation.

The apartment clusters are simple in composition and have been designed to be domestic in both scale and character. These residential blocks are finished externally in buff tumbled brick and painted render with colourful canopies signifying the front door.

The communal block is much larger in scale, with the main entrance emphasised by an oversailing mono-pitch roof supported by an eight metre high column painted out in bright yellow. The building sits comfortably on the site and takes due consideration of the adjoining and neighbouring properties.

Existing trees on site were retained and reinforced with additional native planting to provide a parkland green for the new centre. A perimeter road runs around the scheme, providing car parking and external access to each apartment. An awkwardly shaped section of the site has been grassed to provide amenity space. However, this will likely be developed to provide allotment space for use by the residents at a later stage.

The internal building services provide a durable, easily maintained and environmentally friendly solution while also fostering a sense of autonomy for residents.


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