Design for dementia: Sustainability and human wellbeing

  • YEAR
    Fay, Roger
    Fleming, Richard
    Robinson, Andrew
    2010 Conference Papers


ABSTRACT: The key internationally utilised building environmental rating tools, such as Green Star
(Australia), BREEAM (UK), LEED (US) and CASBEE (Japan), are scientific in their epistemological
underpinnings. Buildings are rated on the basis of their anticipated energy consumption and
consequent carbon emissions, water consumption, indoor environmental quality and so on. Generally,
these are based on theoretical, modelled estimates, compliance with standards or use of best practice
in the case of tools used at the design stage or in some cases, actual performance data for buildings
having at least a year of operational use.

Given that these building rating tools have been developed to address the scientific evidence that
human activity, including the construction but especially the operation of buildings, contributes
significantly to global warming, resource depletion and pollution, it is understandable, therefore, that
the tools have focused primarily on energy, pollution and water reduction. Applied research has been
the focus of industry and academic research that supported the development of these rating tools.

There are certain building types, those for which human wellbeing is central, for which the scientifically
based rating tools appear inadequate. Perhaps the assumption is that designers take human wellbeing
as a given though in many cases the evidence for this is not clear. This paper, argues through an
examination of buildings designed for the care of people with dementia, that the lessons learned from
the design of these buildings and the rating tools developed to assist in their design are transferable to
all buildings occupied by sentient beings. Current research indicates that quantitative and qualitative
indicators that go beyond the current building rating tools are relevant to the design of buildings for


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