Buildings in the Making: for later life care
About the project

Creating better spaces for dementia and later life care is not just about the product...

The role of the architect

The role of the architect is changing, in relation to wider changes in the construction industry and models of procurement.


These changes call for collaborative ways of working, yet architectural education can encourage a separation.

Models of commissioning

and procurement can impact on designs ... the designing architect is not always retained, and their expertise in design for dementia or later life may be lost.


There is extensive guidance available for age friendly and dementia friendly design, but it can conflict with financial constraints and regulatory requirements.


Principles for dementia and age friendly design need to be specified clearly in the brief and tender documentation.

Staff as building users

Staff as building users tend to be overlooked, and staff spaces such as staff rooms, laundries and kitchens have received less consideration in design guidance

Design verses function

There can be a disconnect between design intentions and the operational use of a building.


Consultation with building users generally does not happen on projects, unless the client allocates adequate time and resources for this.


Constraints on funding for health and social care limit resources for consultation with building users and the take-up of principles for good design, as well as shaping the choice of particular procurement models.


There is a need for more guidance and training for architects and other design and construction professionals on why, when and how to consult with building users.


An awareness of designing for diverse building users, including people living with dementia, should be incorporated into architectural education.


A shared sense of the vision and values of a project across the design and construction team should be embedded in the brief and developed through ongoing working relationships and practices.


Leaving a legacy beyond bricks and mortar

We’re proud to support the University of York Department of Sociology’s research because we agree with this report’s findings that a shared sense of vision and values right across the project team is critical to leaving a legacy beyond bricks and mortar in the communities in which we work. - Anthony Dillon, Managing Director for Wilmott Dixon in the North.

Download the project report


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