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3DReid plans crossover scheme combining student digs and dementia centre

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3DReid has unveiled plans for an intergenerational scheme which would place student digs next to assisted living homes and a dementia care centre

The AJ100 practice has submitted detailed plans to City of Edinburgh Council for the 17,400m² development in Craigmillar, to the south-east of Scottish capital.

The scheme is for a steep-sloped site formerly occupied by a warehouse, which has lain empty since 2006.

According to the architects, the range of housing types will address the social challenges of an ageing population by mixing different generations in a ’non-institutional environment’.

The students living on the site are expected to be trainee nurses and other vocational health-based students at the nearby Queen Margret’s University, as well as students based at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary.

The four-storey student and assisted living components include commercial units and an active frontage facing Craigmillar’s town centre.

student resi assisted living primary elevation to niddrie mains rd

student resi assisted living primary elevation to niddrie mains rd

Source: 3DReid

Student accommodation and assisted living elevation to Niddrie Mains Road

The proposals drop down to two storeys towards the rear of the site, with the dementia care facility having a ‘more domestically scaled and secluded environment’.

3DReid said the blocks each have different courtyards and landscaping to provide a varied environment for residents and staff.

It also claimed a neighbouring Art Deco building had ‘inform[ed] both the language and materiality of the development’. 

And it explained: ‘With a connection to home being of key importance in designing for dementia, the familiar forms of Edinburgh tenemental bay windows punctuate the façades of much of the dementia care facility.’

Architect’s View

Designing for dementia presents a challenging brief, the importance of which is steadily increasing nationally and beyond. We relished the opportunity to contribute to these issues and to explore the capacity to create a positive built environment to respond to the needs of those who will be resident in an integrated, not isolating, manner.

Of particular importance is a continuous access to sources of natural light, and visual connection to the outdoors [to aid] a resident’s ability to re-orientate within both time and space in moments of anxiety. Clear wayfinding is also of key significance. In response to these requirements, and in order to diminish the sense of an institutional atmosphere, long hospital-like corridors have been specifically avoided, and are regularly broken by points of interest, such as day lounges and activity spaces with their own distinct feeling of place and garden views.

Modern dementia care thinking has shifted towards the encouragement of free movement and less defined demarcation between staff and residents. This is reflected in our design in the form of such things as soft boundaries managed by wearable tech, and the discreet integration of nursing stations within day lounge areas to minimise the feeling of surveillance, and prioritise the dignity of residents.

With the majority of the facility’s residents likely to have lived in Edinburgh for much of their lives, we have endeavoured to provide as many rooms and spaces as possible a view to the nearby landmark Arthur’s Seat, affording resident’s a familiar point of reference and further wayfinding touchstone.

The three programmes interact with and support each other, be it the shared activity spaces between the Assisted Living and Dementia Care, [the health-related students] who will occupy the purpose-built student accommodation, or the combined heat and power plant serving all three buildings. We hope that the mix of uses, and their location next to Craigmillar’s new high school and town centre, will provide the grounds for an inclusive environment and a new intergenerational community in Craigmillar.

Ryan Hodge, Architect, 3DReid

dementia centre entrance

dementia centre entrance

Entrance to the dementia care centre

Project data

Location Craigmillar, Edinburgh
Local authority City of Edinburgh Council
Type of project Mixed-use residential
Client Keyworkers Living
Architect 3DReid
Landscape Architect VML Landscape Design
Planning Consultant Rick Finc Associates
Structural Engineer Quattro
M&E Consultant Cundall
Quantity Surveyor Currie + Brown
Principal Designer Currie + Brown
Project Management Currie + Brown
Transportation Goodson Associates
Gross internal floor area 17,400m²

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