Effective senior living space needs user-centric design

Buildings designed for the senior housing sector should be user-centric, starting with research from the perspective of how people experience buildings and the environment, said Dutch architect Anja Dirks of Studio ID+.

Investors in the sector should be looking to create variety for what is actually a large user group, she said in an interview with Real Asset Insight’s Richard Betts.

“If you start working and looking from there, it can help efficiency of care programs but also prevent loneliness and help the building to care for the people living in it,” she said.

She explained that accessing outside space is important for such residents, which makes multi-storey buildings less suitable. “The higher it is the harder it gets for people to get out,” Dirks said.

It is also crucial to think about the floor plan, how people want to live and how this can be organised. A design based on this concept can produce a building that may be very different to that which might have originally been envisaged, Dirks explained.