Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Showcase

The Architect, the Built Environment and the Ageing Population: We need a better connection with the design needs of older people

In designing a supportive built environment that encompasses, inclusion, wellbeing, independence and mobility, Architects encounter key challenges as they try to connect with the requirements of an ageing population. Within the context of the BESiDE project (which investigates how older people can be better supported by the built environment of care homes) we examine how Architecture is preparing for the needs of an ageing population.

We ask: What methods do Architects use in designing to meet the needs of our ageing population? What are the limitations and successes? How do we learn from these findings to ensure impact and use of future forms of ‘guidance’?

Interviews conducted with 10 Architects in Scotland (N=6 male, N=4 female) have uncovered a multitude of barriers in preventing connection with, and response to, design requirements of older people. Despite government directives on access, this study has found a lack of useable resources in relation to ageing, wellbeing and built environment design. Limitations of guidance; user engagement; building evaluations and continual practice development training (CPD), are major themes raised as impacting on how an architect designs care homes. Architects emphasized that they wanted knowledge of how to enhance buildings for older people. They stressed that understanding an older person’s practical design needs, as opposed to theoretical guidance, was crucial in enhancing mobility and independence in buildings. They also highlighted that translating research findings through a CPD would be preferable due to time constraints of working in practice.

This research has engaged Architects with BESiDE from the outset to ensure findings will be used, will have impact and will translate into Architect’s practice. We will continue to build relationships, crossing from research to practice, and plan to use these findings to develop a CPD to better connect architects with the design requirements of an older population. 



Event Details
  • A Scientific Meeting (conference, seminar etc.)
Location Details

United Kingdom



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