Niall McLaughlin Architects were asked by London Borough of Camden to prepare a feasibility study for development of two new residential care homes for older people in their borough. The proposed homes were to accommodate older people needing some form of assistance, a large proportion of whom also have dementia.
The truism that a good building involves those who use it seemed particularly pertinent for this project, given the relative vulnerability of the residents. The practice carried out three visioning workshops as part of a large consultation process.
We travelled to the two existing care homes to make observations about what worked well, and what did not. Together, we visited many homes for older people around the country to learn from good practice. We spent time in direct discussion with residents to encourage a briefing free from third party expertise. We also used postcards, with images taken by the workshop participants, as an opportunity for people to voice their ideas in their own quiet time.
The work proved to be an invaluable source of inspiration for the two new care homes. In 2012 the London Borough of Camden won a Beacon award for their engagement with older people, based on the practice’s consultation.