Spatial Design & Dementia

Environmental Design for

Persons Living with Dementia


This studio project explored how space affects its dwellers as an extension of the body, particularly in the context of those living with dementia in a residential facility. Working with the Geriatric Psychiatry unit of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute at UHN, our full-time cohort conducted on-site observations, interviews and a series of mini-scoping reviews to explore both primary and secondary research. The result helped us frame a number of research questions that informed design concepts and diagrams.

Being more familiar with the autism community, I was interested to explore design for autism in hopes of drawing parallels. In my rapid literature reviews, I found Magda Mostafa's work which applied a sensory design theory to architecture, putting sensory perception before function, which is atypical for architecture. I then partnered with civil engineer, Laura Halleran, in writing a meta-ethnography and designing concepts for family-oriented relational care. 

Design Researchers

Teresa Coronel Abungin, Filipe De Abreu Ligabue, Laura Halleran, Avital Lang, Alison Mulvale, Angelsea Saby, Sonia Tagari, Arezoo Talebzadeh

Project Leads

Bruce Hinds, Maya Desai


Whether or not an individual experiences a sense of home is thus dependent on...the relevant factors in the broader social and relational environment (not just the physical)
— Robinson, Reid & Cooke, 2010