Ørestad Nursing Home: the importance of aesthetics

Most people prefer to ‘age in place’ rather than move into care institutions (Peters 2014, p. 47). It allows people to be surrounded by a familiar environment and close to a personal support network (Buys & Taylor 2014, p. 57). On Blueprint for Living, when discussing the importance of responding to the needs of older people, architect Simon Knott explains ways of making homes more adaptable with functionality blending in with aesthetics. However, not everyone will be able to age in place; depending on familial support, level of health or ability, a percentage will need to be placed in aged-care facilities.

JJW_Ørestad Plejecenter (6).jpg

(Peters 2014, p. 52) | Ørestad Nursing Home focuses on the domestic details in the interior to create value and familiarity.

Previous iterations of nursing homes failed to recognise the home that people were previously living in (Peters 2014, p. 47). Ørestad Nursing Home designed by JJW Architects creates an environment that appears as a village, with streets, gardens, and amenities. From a services perspective, residents are allowed to cook their own food, or watch their food being cooked (Peters 2014, p. 52), giving them independence or a sense of control. The architecture focuses on a domestic scale, with the consideration on how the residents will live, through private balconies, communal gardens, and the interactions with the interior space.

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(JJW Arkitekter 2012) | The façade of the Ørestad Nursing home gives ‘individual expression to each apartment’

The façades are designed to give ‘individual expression to each apartment’ (Peters 2014, p. 52) through both colour and form. The colours reference the architecture of Copenhagen (JJW Arkitekter 2012), bringing in a sense of place to the nursing home. The high quality Danish furniture not only brings familiarity to the residents (Peters 2014, p. 52), but also signifies societal value. As Coleman writes, aesthetics are as important as functionality, our personal belongings and surroundings ‘communicate strong messages about identity, social position and values’ (2015, p. 43).

When discussing ageing design, Patricia Moore writes how the misunderstanding of older people is ‘a failure to view them as members of a family and community’ (2015, p. 33). By not responding to their needs in design, we are excluding them from the community and devaluing their lives. The desire to be respected and valued can be reflected in the expression of the architecture we design for older people. Ørestad Nursing Home provides an environment that gives residents a sense of place, identity, independence, and value, by placing equal importance on aesthetics as well as functionality.



References:
Buys, L. & Taylor M. 2014, ‘Ageing in suburbia: designing for demographic change in Australia and New Zealand’, Architectural Design, March/April, pp. 54–59.

Coleman, R. 2015, ‘But will the neighbours be jealous?’, in Y. Lee & P. Moore (eds), Ageing, ingenuity, and design, DESIS Network, Hong Kong, pp. 36–49.

JJW Arkitekter 2012, Ørestad plejecenter, viewed 6 November 2016, <http://www.jjw.dk/?projekt=orestad-plejecenter>.

Moore, P. 2015, ‘Disguised: the true story of a designer’s quest to embrace and elevate elders with equity’, in Y. Lee & P. Moore (eds), Ageing, ingenuity, and design, DESIS Network, Hong Kong, pp. 26–35.

Peters, T. 2014, ‘Socially inclusive design in Denmark: the maturing landscape’, Architectural Design, March/April, pp. 46–53.

Williams, M. 2016, Designing for an ageing population, audio podcast, Blueprint for Living Radio National, ABC Radio, 20 August, viewed 6 November 2016, <http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/blueprintforliving/designing-for-an-ageing-population/7750714>.

Images:
JJW Arkitekter 2012, Ørestad plejecenter, viewed 6 November 2016, <http://www.jjw.dk/?projekt=orestad-plejecenter>.

Peters, T. 2014, ‘Socially inclusive design in Denmark: the maturing landscape’, Architectural Design, March/April, p. 52.

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Posted in B: Aging Best Practices

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