TODD Architects completes dementia ‘village’ in Newtonabbey, NI

TODD Architects have completed The Croft, a state-of-the-art supported living development specifically designed for people living with early stage dementia in Northern Ireland. The 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 newbuild self- contained apartments have been arranged as a ‘village,’ encouraging residents to follow a “conventional life pattern, designed for their safety, therapy, wellbeing and ease of accessibility,” said the architects. 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. 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 the 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, close 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. The courtyards have been positioned between apartment clusters, offering each apartment direct access to the landscaped gardens and spaces. 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. These offer external views, generous light penetration, clear wayfinding and allow 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 neigh- bouring properties.”



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