»Good architecture ensures better care for older people.«

Trä meets Susanne Ramel

We are facing a future boom in older people. In 30 years time, a quarter of the Swedish population will be over 65. To meet that coming need, elder care provision needs to be expanded – and redesigned. Susanne Ramel, architect at Marge Arkitekter, knows the key considerations when building the sheltered housing of the future.

“The residents’ senses must be activated! Ditch the long corridors and institutional feel and let the kitchen and terrace form the locus. If we can create a place where residents and relatives feel at home, that raises the status of the accommodation, and that has a good effect on staff morale too.”

What are your preferred materials?
“More living materials like wood and stone – because they are attractive and age beautifully and help to get rid of that institutional feel. Residents often use their sense of touch to orient themselves and get around. It is also more pleasant to lay your hand on a living material than on a dead one.”

The biggest challenge?
“Clients often want low-maintenance materials, but I also encourage them to use materials that stimulate people’s senses. Another challenge is that this target group needs to get outside more. We have to create good outdoor spaces that are more than just a tiny balcony, even in high-rise blocks. That is a particularly difficult nut to crack.”

How much responsibility do you have as an architect?
“The architect’s responsibility is to create good architecture. To do that, we should be brought into the project at an early stage. Good architecture can improve the quality of our sheltered housing.” 

Personalities that trä has met

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