Iron Heart Memory Village - Designing Independent Living for Dementia Residents to Enhance Mobility

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Virginia Tech


The present architectural proposal aims to foster engagement, support independence, and promote a sense of meaning, comfort, and safety for dementia residents of care facilities. The proposed Iron Heart Memory Village aims to improve the quality of life for dementia residents by redesigning healthcare facilities and integrating everyday lifestyles into their living spaces. Dementia, characterized by cognitive decline and functional impairments, poses significant challenges to individuals and their caregivers. By reimagining program spaces within low-density housing and providing access to public amenities, entertainment, and natural environments, healthcare facilities can emulate familiar everyday settings.

In terms of design, Iron Heart Memory Village offers a setting that prioritizes interactions between residents, healthcare professionals, and visitors through low-density residences, individual courtyards designed for the different stages of dementia, shopping, cooking, entertainment, public amenities, and simple living. This proposal considers the proposed site's history, climate, site, demographics, economics, and other factors to best design a building that serves not only dementia residents but also the neighborhood. The proposal addresses the multifaceted needs of dementia residents and their caregivers through sustainable architecture and construction. Innovative architecture, such as green roofs, solar panels, locally sourced materials, open designs, and more, are some of the elements used to enhance mobility, stimulate mental abilities, and create environments conducive to holistic well-being. Through a deeper understanding of dementia as a condition influenced by various factors, including brain damage and other underlying conditions, this project underscores the importance of design and architecture as a means to alleviate symptoms and improve overall outcomes for individuals affected by dementia.



dementia patients, quality of life, healthcare facilities, independence, engagement, low density housing, safety, nature, mobility