Author: Debbie De Fiddes

The importance of Biophilic Design: fact or fiction?

There is a lot of misinformation out there that says Biophilic design is solely about introducing vegetation into the built environment. Whilst that is a nice idea and certainly important, it is not totally correct. So where did Biophilic design come from? In 1984 E.O. Wilson introduced and popularized the Biophilia hypothesis defining Biophilia as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”. His hypothesis suggests that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems. So whilst Biophilia is the theory, Biophilic design seeks to reconnect people with the natural environment. In most cultures,...

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Noise impact on quality of life

Acoustics in aged care is rapidly becoming a major issue. With providers opting for more hard surfaces such as vinyl flooring throughout a facility this is having a profound impact on the health and wellbeing of the residents. Thoughtful design can reduce the impact of noise and improve the quality of our living environment. The acoustics of a space depends on the structural and interior makeup of the building and should be considered early in the design process. Noise is classified as either airborne noise, which travels through the air, or impact noise through vibration. Single products alone cannot...

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Designing for dementia care: what you need to know

Nobody likes to spend additional dollars after a building project has been completed. Changing the design because it doesn’t work is not only often impossible but also costly, inconvenient and frustrating when the design should be right in the first place. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say to me, “Why do we need to consider dementia design throughout a facility when we have a secure dementia area?” People living with dementia live in the community, within retirement villages and certainly a lot of my clients tell me that over 90% of their residents in aged care have some form of cognitive impairment. Good design should encompass dementia design and should not be restricted to only the secure area. Enabling environment principles apply to all that reside in an aged care facility. Ageing eyesight challenges, Parkinson’s, mobility issues and hearing problems – the list goes on. Getting the design right in the early planning stages saves the client and architects a lot of time and money. Asking an architect to change things at the eleventh hour is taking your life in your own hands! I totally understand why. The good news is this can be prevented. There are many things that should be considered. For example, we know that the scale of a building will have an effect on the behaviour and feelings...

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