Master of Architecture - University of Newcastle

Annie Murphy

Annie Murphy

Insight, In Mind

Dementia prevention, intervention, and care

Architecture has the ability to trigger our emotions and alter our perceptions. Consequently, I would like to investigate the relation between architecture, landscape, and health by examining therapeutic environments for the cognitively impaired.

Evidence shows that psychological, social and environmental interventions such as social contact and activities are more effective than medications for treating dementia. Therefore, I am concerned about the social and physical function of architecture and how it can shape our built environment to improve well-being. The project might include communal spaces, public gardens, workshops and physical

activities to create social connection between both young and old. Designing the space for all ages is important to promote healthy lifestyles at a young age and raise awareness about dementia and other mental illnesses such as depression.

Spatial disorientation and loss of perception are among the early symptoms of dementia, limiting a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Therefore, the physical design will play on the role of way-finding and spatial perception.

This is an experimental project, attempting to interpret some of the changes to spatial perception caused by dementia. There may be a level of unpredictability regarding the finished product as the cognitive state is only partially understood. The aim of my research into the impact of spatial cognition is to deeper our understanding of how all our minds interpret space.