Design for Ageing 2014


Over the next 20 years the number of people aged over 60 in the UK will increase by over 40% – how will architects respond to this challenge for society, and how can they benefit from designing for older people?

Convened on 18 November 2014 by Níall McLaughlin, of UCL and Níall McLaughlin Architects, the RIBA’s 9th annual Research Symposium  addressed questions such as – how can we design our places, spaces and communities to support healthy and happy later lives? How do architects and designers approach the idea of inclusion in design practice? And how involved are older people in that design process? The Symposium explored these questions through case studies and debate.




The RIBA showed an excellent collection of new housing projects designed for older people in the UK that are due to be built soon. This was Followed by the launch of An Alternative Age-Friendly Handbook, by Sophie Handler. Stephen Witherford of Witherford Watson Mann Architects, recipient of the 2013 Stirling Prize gave the keynote on Design for an Ageing Population and presented his designs Witherford Watson Mann Architects latest project for older people.

Case studies

The Symposium developed original insights into six inspiring projects from around the UK based on a series of visits with the architects and a variety of academic reviewers. Architects included – AHMM, Dean Hawkes, Kate Macintosh, muf, PRP and Richard Murphy Architects, and their projects were reviewed by academics from universities around the UK.

Leigham Court, Lambeth

A sheltered housing project, designed in the early 1970s by Kate Makintosh for Lambeth Council and reviewed for the RIBA by Chris Phillipson form the University of Manchester.

Kate Macintosh Architect
Chris Phillipson, University of Mancheser

Pilgrim Gardens, Leicester

An Extra-Care project, designed by PRP Architects in 2013 for Pilgrims Friends in Evington, Leicester and reviewed by Judith Torrington from the University of Sheffield.

Clare Cameron, PRP Architects
Judith Torrington, University of Sheffield

Hawkes House, Cambridge

Dean Hawkes from the University of Cambridge designed his own home in the 1990s for his and his wife's retirement and Jeremy Porteus from the Housing LIN reviewed this project.

Dean Hawkes, University of Cambridge
Jeremy Porteus, Housing LIN

Barking Town Centre, Barking

Designed by muf for the London Borough of Barking  and Dagenham in 2010 and reviewed by Catharine Ward-Thompson from the University of Edinburgh.

Liza Fior, muf
Catharine Ward Thompson, University of Edinburgh

Stratheden Dementia Care, Fife

A dementia care and mental health unit designed by Richard Murphy architects and opened in 2 phases between 2009 and 2010 for NHS Fife and reviewed by Richard Pollock from the Dementia Services Development Centre, Univerisy of Stirling.

Richard Murphy, Richard Muphy Architects
Richard Pollock, DSDC, University of Stirling

North London Hospice, Enfield

A day care centre, deisgned by AHMM for the North London Hospice in 2012 to be a 'big version of someones house' and reviewed by Sheila Peace formthe Open University.

Susan LeGood, AHMM
Sheila Peace, Open University