Following our work on the Dementia Design Strategy for Bridgwater Hospital, we were approached by Wiltshire Council to bring their ‘Design Guide for Extra Care Housing’ in line with current guidance. This set out the requirements for future developments and was designed to inform all members of the team about the importance of various design features to the wellbeing of future residents.
Needham House Show Flat
Setting the scene for an independent retirement
The following year we were able put the Design Guide into practice at Needham House, Devizes, the first Extra Care scheme built by Wiltshire Council to provide purpose-designed housing for over 55s. Designed to HAPPI principles, the 47-apartment development also houses a communal lounge, dining room and activity rooms. The interior of the Needham House Show Flat is designed to promote a sense of community and interaction between residents – from the colour zoning of each ‘neighbourhood’ to the widening internal ‘streets’ that give residents space to stop and chat with each other as they move through the building.
Finishes have been chosen with residents’ wellbeing and long-term practicality in mind. Warm natural finishes and soft flooring help to create a homely feel, careful use of contrast aids those who are partially-sighted and slip-resistant surfaces without obvious thresholds help to avoid falls. We also worked closely with the Council’s FM and maintenance departments to ensure they were happy they could easily maintain the building, without sacrificing style and comfort for residents.
The Needham House Show Flat was fully fitted-out and dressed by DKA to illustrate that specialist housing does not have to feel institutional and it reflects the lifestyle many of us hope we will be able to enjoy in our retirement. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the finishing touches bring it all together – even getting our hands dirty planting up the garden troughs!
Rebecca joined DKA in 2007 and has worked across all sectors, initially in a technical capacity and now leading our interiors team. This mix of technical and interiors experience has provided Rebecca with a well-balanced approach, with designs offering both creativity and practicality. She has a Masters in Environmental Psychology which developed her awareness of the impact design can have on people’s experience of the built environment. Rebecca is our expert in dementia-friendly design and believes that good design can help to empower all building users.
After qualifying in 2002 Adrian joined DKA in 2004, where he has gained a wide range of experience in healthcare, community, industrial, leisure and residential projects. Recently he has been Project Architect for two new community hospitals in Somerset, providing him with a thorough knowledge of the latest healthcare regulations and successful experiences working with two of the country’s leading contractors on the Procure 21 framework.