The Carpe Diem Dementia Village in the Norwegian town of Bærum was designed to resemble a village rather than a medical institution.
The ageing of the European population poses many challenges for healthcare professionals. One of them is to provide a more efficient and humane care system for older people with dementia.
Inspired by De Hogeweyk, a similar project in the Netherlands, the 18,000m2 pilot has been refined by the Nordic Office of Architecture. It offers a complete architectural and aesthetic concept that provides the best possible quality of life for residents with dementia.
A familiar and reassuring atmosphere
We know the primary function of architecture is to be at the service of those who will live, work or spend time in buildings. But also to understand and include people who have specific needs. And this mission is all the more crucial in the case of the elderly or those suffering from dementia. Patients often have difficulty in recognising their environment and finding their way around. It is essential that outdoor spaces are clearly identifiable. This inclusive design makes it easier for residents to orient themselves. Priority was therefore given to natural landmarks (borders, facades, etc.). The residences have been designed to create a familiar atmosphere of proximity, resembling a village, with buildings on a human scale (just a few floors), decorated with gardens and small squares. The Carpe Diem Dementia Village was really imagined as a welcoming place where residents can walk around freely, without closed doors.
Architecture and design make way for sustainable materials, which require little or no maintenance and which meet the environmental requirements of the Nordic eco-label.
This pilot project will serve as a basis for observation and reflection for future dementia care, in Norway and elsewhere.