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Alzheimer’s Respite Centre

  • Architect:
    Niall McLaughlin Architects
  • Award Type:
    Best Health Building 2010
  • Location: Dublin
Alzheimer’s Respite Centre

The careful sequence of spaces here are thoughtfully designed achieving real quality through skilful use of light and the choice and enjoyment of its well detailed materials.

Alzheimer’s Disease affects memory and cognition. This in turn affects our ability to place ourselves in the world. We know where we are because we remember how we got here. A building designed for people with Alzheimer’s must renew the sense of presence that allows us to place ourselves in a situation. At any moment I might find myself lost and look for signs that will return me to the familiar.

The Centre is built in an 18th century walled kitchen garden; We have placed the building to frame views of new garden spaces created between the new construction and the old enclosure. Each garden is orientated in a different direction and intended to be experienced at different times of the day. Users can move around rooms in the interior like a clock, experiencing change throughout their daily journey. There are courtyards, orchards, allotments and lawns.

We set our architects a challenging brief, namely to create a day care and respite centre for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and to build a new national office for the Alzheimer Society Ireland. We sought a building which was modern, bright and spacious which would become a home from home for our clients; and all, of course, with very limited funds. They embraced the ethos of the Society and placed the needs of our clients at the centre of their work, resulting in an imaginative, engaging, modern building which has proved flexible and adaptable in use.

The Orchard is very popular with our clients and their families, and has proved to be a centre that enables some of the most vulnerable in our society to live with dignity and joy.