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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2021

Lost in Space: Exploring the House of Life

From the book Arts & Dementia

  • Insa Schrader


Throughout our lives, we are surrounded by space and our bodies form an integral part of that space. We even begin to experience the world through our perception of space while still in the womb. However, people living with ‘dementia feel increasingly lost. Until now, special buildings have mostly been built to compensate for the deficits associated with disorientation. The question of how aspects of safety and security can be conveyed through space itself, thus increasing self confidence and facilitating an improved Quality of Life, remains mostly unanswered. Especially in this age of digitalization and individualization, building specifically for people living with dementia could be the starting point for a creative renewal of the built environment that would benefit everyone. Architecture that conveys elementary sensual experiences in an analog and direct manner, using proportions, materials, lighting, color and acoustics, appeals to everyone equally. Space that conveys sensual qualities, clear orientation, security and identity represent added value for society as a whole. This approach should not only be seen as a contribution to the aesthetics and ethics of planning and building, it also promises economic benefits - which benefits not only people living with dementia, but their carers and relatives, too. This contribution should, therefore, be viewed as an anthropological approach and the exploration of a holistic understanding of space and architecture. This will not cure dementia, but it will contribute to a situation that is more worthwhile to live in.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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