James Telfer Link Being HUMAN: Botanical Retreat

IMAGE: Floor plan showing the layout of the gently inclining ramp that runs through the plant-focused interior. The ramp leads toward an elevated platform which serves as a secure viewing space through a large fixed light window.
IMAGE: NESW elevations of the botanical retreat, complete with a south-facing view. The materials are intended to be corten steel panels and concrete.

Investigating the project’s theme of being ‘different’ opened my eyes to a scope of pivotal design ideas that should be considered when responding to a client with specific requirements. This “Botanical Retreat” is a culmination of design approaches that I familiarised myself with during the 2-week research phase, with a dementia patient as my client. The intention of this ‘purposeful folly’ is to alleviate some of the routine struggles faced by those with memory loss. I designed an indoor garden dominated by natural light with a gradual incline toward a viewing platform (inspired by The Ramp House from Chamber McMillan Architects). I minimised the use of long corridors, instead creating a layout which provides visual cues so to reduce disorientation for the client. The lack of interior walls and doors results in an open plan, single-volume space which has been proven to reduce cases of confusion. Most importantly, being surrounded by plants is a psychological remedy for dementia, therefore tying this concept in with a homely, breathable and secure space should provide my client with an escape from day-to-day mundanities.

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