Daylight and colours for people with dementia

The residents of the Skovvang dementia care facility have received bright, welcoming homes, where their care is reflected in the architecture, decor and layout.

Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen

The already existing Skovvang care facility in Allerød added a new section for people with dementia as a care facility in its own right – connected to the rest of Skovvang by a glass corridor, however.

The dementia care facility comprises four housing units, each with a common day room and dining room opening out onto a common courtyard. In addition, the care facility has an activity centre which can also be used by visitors to the facility.

The Skovvang dementia care facility is a single-storey unit facing the care facility beside it. On the other hand, the choice of materials recurs in both: a combination of light-coloured bricks and wood.

Homely décor

The dementia facility is typified by large window sections and big skylights in the day room, finely dispersing the daylight and infusing the rooms with variation depending on the time of day and year. The big skylights help orient residents in the common room that is designed as both a dining area and day room.

The layout of each of the four housing units is different, smartly illustrating the homely, secure atmosphere characterising the facility.

Troldtekt panels on common-room and corridor ceilings seamlessly interconnect the rooms and provide pleasant acoustics, which also has a beneficial effect on how the spaces are perceived. The wall surfaces alternate between different colours in a way that is calming and varied and, not least, that helps render spaces and zones recognisable.

Hedvig Karlsson, architect and partner, Karlsson Arkitekter, says:

In recent years, we’ve worked to develop a humanist architecture for vulnerable societal groups: homeless people, the mentally ill, the elderly, people with dementia and, not least, vulnerable children in foster care.

The new psychiatric hospital in Slagelse (44,000 m2), an investment of more than DKK 1.2 billion, deserves special mention, as it is the biggest, most ambitious psychiatric treatment facility in Denmark in more than a century.