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Calamities and controversies around resilient architecture for ageing: life course perspective on an exemplary Swedish residential care home
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Architecture, Architectural Design. (Arc Plan Research group)
2014 (English)In: / [ed] Padam, K.; Silik, K., 2014Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Age is a delicate matter, but the Swedish welfare state is ageing and has an increasingly larger propor-tion of elderly people, about 19 per cent (Sweden Statistics, 2014). Since the election campaign in 2006, the matter of appropriate housing and caregiving for older frail persons has been a reoccurring item on the political agenda. Governmental delegations and programmes have ventured out into the great unknown territory of architectural experiences and age-related problems. However, one existing residential care home, in the following RCH, pops up as an exemplary and universal model for architec-ture and the frail ageing process, the residential care home of Vigs Ängar.Initiated as a mutual initiative in the early 1990s, between a local anthroposophical interest group and the municipality of Ystad, Sweden, its creation and existence describe a troublesome tension between legal frameworks, managerial systems for eldercare, facility management and idealistic visions for fu-ture-oriented caregiving. Despite a 20 year existence, this exemplary model has resulted in few similar facilities, both architecture-wise and eldercare-wise. Instead, a large number of national and interna-tional study visits have turned the building along with caregiving into an open smorgasbord consisting of architectural elements or therapeutic approaches, subject to free sampling and tasting. To some extent, the anthroposophical label has clouded the resilient approach in architectural design and care-giving for the frail stages in life.The focus of this paper was to go behind semantics and unravel the generating images that constitute the fundamental reason for the exemplary status of the RCH in question. Critical analysis has been applied as a research method in order to scrutinize documents and drawings that originate from the design process. Random conversations and interviews with various informants associated with the RCH, among which the architect, have been executed over the period 2007-2013. This study suggests that the key factor in this successful realization of an RCH is the solid idea for a resilient architecture. This idea encompasses both ephemeral and tangible experiences of space that structure both the older person’s quality in life as well as the individual staff member’s satisfaction with the work envi-ronment. In that sense, the RCH of Vigs Ängar is more of a spatial sensation than an anthroposophical epiphany.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Resilient architecture for ageing, generator images, residential care homes, Sweden, Vigs Ängar
National Category
Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-158246OAI: diva2:775832
NSBB 2014 conference: Urban renewal - diversified responses to the development of housing and public space in cities, 8-10 October 2014.

QC 20150123

Available from: 2015-01-05 Created: 2015-01-05 Last updated: 2015-01-23Bibliographically approved

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Andersson, Jonas E
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