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A new model of nursing home. Design of an inclusive neighborhood for seniors

Dobrawa Bies
17 of February '21

She addressed the topic of the aging population and the need for changes in systemic care for the elderlyUrszula Król. After conducting numerous analyses, interviews and visits to retirement homes, the Rzeszow University of Technology graduate designed an estate for the elderly that stimulates daily activity and integration of residents.

The work entitled. "Inclusive space. Design of an inclusive housing estate for the elderly" is a diploma project carried out at Rzeszow University of Technology under the supervision of Dr. Cezary Szpytma of the Faculty of Construction, Environmental Engineering and Architecture. The idea for a housing estate for the elderly was awarded in the Podkarpackie Heritage and Development competition organized by the provincial government.

Na terenie osiedla
znajduje się dużo zieleni

The gardens are located throughout the estate, circling the development

© Urszula Król

In the words of Urszula Król:

The inevitable aging of society is increasingly forcing us to reflect on our own future [...]. Aging, as a process affecting society, should not drastically affect functioning in it. Unfortunately, in most cases, old age becomes a period of marasmus and abandonment of passions and interests. At some point, it begins to determine and at the same time limit the capabilities of seniors. In addition, also numerous nursing homes exacerbate this condition - instead of providing opportunities for new, dignified and safe functioning they limit them.

Inclusive housing estate in Rzeszow

A number of issues and problems on both the architectural and social levels motivated the author to create, as part of her engineering work, a design for a housing estate for the elderly. Urszula Król began her project by interviewing managers of nursing homes, as well as residents. The author also developed an online survey and analyzed foreign projects. These activities provided her with a set of guidelines, which were used during the design process.

Plan zagospodarowania
terenu osiedla

The proposed estate is located in Rzeszow on Forsythia Street

© Urszula Król

The author placed the proposed housing estate in Rzeszow on Forsycji Street, on a plot of land located adjacent to one of the city's main streets. Its borders are directly adjacent to extensive allotment gardens and single- and multi-family buildings, which allows to create a space rich in greenery. The most important elements on the site are two residential layouts - terraced and nested. The residential development is supplemented by two additional buildings - a permanent care building and a resident integration center. The residential structures are accompanied by adjacent gardens. The development of the plot also includes parking spaces, an outdoor gym, and a large amount of paved areas supplemented by small architecture.

w ośrodku integracji

The living area of the residents' integration center includes a communal kitchen

© Urszula Król

residents' integration center

The residents'integration center has been equipped with many functions. The living area, open to residents, includes a dining and relaxation area, as well as a meeting place and a communal kitchen. From the east, it opens to the square thanks to large glazing. In the summer, this allows the space to expand and host a variety of events. A small library has been located in the corner of the living space. A hair salon and a grocery store are located outside the building. The facility is supplemented by rehabilitation rooms and facilities, as well as an ecumenical chapel. The southern part has been allocated for technical facilities and staff rooms. A glazed connector creates communication between the integration center and the permanent care building, intended for seniors whose health condition does not allow them to live independently.

Zabudowa gniazdowa
osiedla Zabudowa szeregowa osiedla

The residential buildings form a nested and terraced arrangement

© Urszula Król

Residentialbuildings form two layouts - terraced and nested. A terraced layout is built with a minimum of two segments. The buildings face the entrances to each other, in order to integrate the residents more. Nested layout has the same principles, but differs in spatial solutions. Residents are integrated by an interior atrium that surrounds the residential segments. All living spaces open onto the inner courtyard. The gardens also encompass the development, but are located on the outside of the buildings. Designed by Urszula Król, the apartments are characterized by simple and uniform functional layouts adapted to the disabled.

Budynki wykończono
deskami elewacyjnymi

The idea of the estate is based on integration

© Urszula Król

new model of nursing home

Due to their dispersed layout, the bodies of the buildings were designed in the form of minimalist cuboids. The buildings were finished with facade boards and covered with trapezoidal metal sheets. The architect used pine timber frame construction in the design. All rooms have access to specialized paging systems. The living spaces were supplemented with motion sensors that would alert staff if a senior falls.

The estate I developed is a space that is based on integration. This issue is a key premise of the project. The estate is characterized by diversity, providing many opportunities for living, spending time or recreation. It is a space that does not restrict seniors. It creates a new model of a nursing home as a place open to the needs of residents," Urszula Król concluded.

The topic of the aging population was also taken up by Nina Lipowska of Poznan University of Technology, who created a housing development for seniors in Rabat. Her project received an honorable mention in the "Co-living for elderly" competition organized by UNI competitions.


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