Design for Dementia: Visit to Dementia Village

February 8, 2016

DWA Architects have vast experience working in the healthcare sector and have a particular interest in design for dementia. As such, staff are encouraged to continually develop their knowledge, looking at ways to improve our approach to design for dementia.

Rebecca Travis, Architectural Assistant, based in our Warrington Office, is currently in her sixth-year of the seven-year process of becoming an Architect. Whilst in her final year, Rebecca is completing her thesis on best practice dementia facilities in Europe. As part of this, on Monday the 25th of January Rebecca visited De Hogeweyk, Weesp, Holland.

De Hogeweyk is a specially designed village with 23 houses for 152 senior residents living with dementia. Hogeweyk offers its residents maximum privacy and autonomy. The village has streets, squares, gardens and a park where the residents can safely roam free. Just like any other village, Hogeweyk offers a selection of facilities, like a restaurant, a bar and a theatre. These facilities can be used by Hogeweyk residents AND residents of the surrounding neighbourhoods.

The reason for visiting De Hogeweyk dementia village was because of its unique concepts and ground breaking approach to dementia design. Rebecca said –

“It was fantastic to have the opportunity to visit De Hogeweyk, to see first hand this innovative approach to design for dementia. Following this visit, I have shared my experience with colleagues at DWA and will use it to explore innovative ways to approach design for dementia.”

Rebecca visited Hogeweyk with Tutor Karim Hadjri and his research associate Tulika Gadakari.

Karim is an architect with a Master of Philosophy (1989) and a Doctor of Philosophy (1992) in housing studies completed at the Joint Centre for Urban Design at Oxford Brookes University. He has worked as a scholar in the United Kingdom, UAE and Saudi Arabia, and managed academic units and research centres in both Cyprus and Colombia. Karim is interested in inclusive design and how the physical environment can be improved to fit the needs and requirements of the older user in particular. He has also studied the influence of the physical environment on various user groups including people with cognitive and sensory impairment. For publications please see –

Dr Tulika Gadakari is the Research Associate working on a high profile EU-China collaborative research project which examines ageing-in-place. The University of Central Lancashire, UK is leading a collaborative research venture between Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, and Universitй Paris Dauphine / Universitй Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique / Paris I-Panthйon Sorbonne from Paris, France. The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UK and is titled ODESSA – OPTIMISING CARE DELIVERY MODELS TO SUPPORT AGEING-IN-PLACE: TOWARDS AUTONOMY, AFFORDABILITY AND FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY. Dr Gadakari is working with people who are over the traditional retirement age of 65, with a particular focus on the over 80s, to find new and innovative ways of adapting a person’s home so that they can live independently for longer and avoid going into residential care as well as making it easier for them to access public services such as health and social services. As part of the research Dr Gadakari is identifying best practice case studies from Europe and China that promote age-friendly environments and improve older people’s quality of life. For more information about the ODESSA project please visit –

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