Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Mar-Apl 2014 Contents
Clover Leaf Tables
Ideal for wheelchair access, or for
residents to fit right into the table
Coffee Tables & Chairs
We recommend higher than
normal coffee tables to allow easy
access and safety, when residents
reach their tea and coffee.
Beds, Accessories, Bedroom
To suit all styles and budgets
say moving from one
room to another where
light or humidity levels
change, heart rates
will vary, transpiration
will change and the
body will be mobilised
to respond. Eyes will
move and readjust
to different lighting
levels or colours,
ears will readjust to different sound
levels. All of these dynamic changes
improve the living environment for
residents. This is the concept of thermal
delight and new studies investigating
allesthesia [experiencing a sensation] and
its relationship to thermal comfort are
seeking further detail on this.
From a design point of view, there are
natural separations anyway between 'front
of house' and 'back of house' areas, for
example, so zoning here is easy. Residents'
bedrooms often have their own controls.
We are also seeing more variety in the
types of communal spaces within facilities,
from the smaller intimate sitting and
reading spaces through to the larger group
areas, and these could have different
We should also remember the outside
world. With more focus on the benefit
of outdoor space, whether directly
overlooking or actually being in it, there
could be transition
spaces. Many facilities
areas (outdoor areas
covered and screened)
for residents to
enjoy and feel part
of the outdoors. The
verandah, for example,
is a common form of
this type of space in
the Australian context.
Working with architects to achieve this
for the satisfaction of all, including the
cost planners and accountants, is one of
the key challenges as we move into the
next stage of sustainable building design.
However, detailed comfort research is
required to establish the base parameters
to brief the project team. This will lead to
greater levels of comfort and the desired
reduction in the use of resources for the
residents and operators.
From a sustainability point of view,
creating 'dynamic' environments, more
attuned to residents' varied needs, will not
only save on energy and running costs but
could have health benefits for residents. It
needs to start with the residents. n
Guy Luscombe is an award-winning
architect who specialises in ageing.
He is principal of GLAD studio. John
Brodie, the principal of VIM Sustainability,
has been a construction and design
manager for over 30 years.
their environment. There is also a large
amount of research validating that the
health of the body improves in a dynamic
living environment where the internal
conditions change just as the external
This approach also fits in nicely with
the view that making spaces as 'normal'
as possible has benefits for older people,
especially those living with dementia.
Our ability to locate ourselves in a space
or area, to know if it is morning or night,
dry or wet, hot or cold, is based on us
experiencing changes in our environment
consistent with being outside. This is
achieved via our skin and our senses.
Being locked inside a 'bank vault' at
22.5 degrees and 300 lux - a typical air
conditioned artificially lit space - for
the rest of your life would not be very
exciting and would not prolong health or
quality of life. How many of our facility's
residents are in bank vaults? Static, dead
environments that offer no change, no
variability and no relief are not the way
forward. Dynamism is the way forward.
A dynamic environment has a
number of benefits. It would provide a
more realistic and potentially healthier
environment for older people. It would
also be a more appropriate use of energy
and resources, designed to target areas
based on function, activity and size. It
would be the more sustainable approach
and there would be less 'wasted' energy.
If we were to provide variances in the
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