Iris Murdoch Building
Classification: Dementia Services Development Centre
Number of stories: One-Two
Number of bedrooms: N/A
Owner: Stirling University / DSDC
Status: Education, Office, Residential
Architect: Burnett Pollock Associates
Detailed Information on Iris Murdoch Centre:
View Iris Murdoch Centre
Detailed Information on Iris Murdoch Centre
Completed in March 2002 the Iris Murdoch building (named after the famous writer and philosopher who suffered from dementia towards the end of her life) is home to the Dementia Services Development Centre which seeks to demonstrate principles of design for dementia. The building was designed by Burnett Pollock Associates and sets out to ‘minimise confusion, maximise transparency and aid orientation’. The building occupies a glorious site as part of the Stirling University campus, which is situated approximately three miles from the centre of Stirling. The campus consists of 310 acres of countryside with views over the Ochil hills with Airthrey Loch as the focal point.
The Iris Murdoch building is constructed out of several forms each expressing a different function within. You are initially greeted with a sweeping white rendered wall which is punctured, at first with small aperture windows and then with a large hole which forms a gateway leading to the covered entrance, which is additionally marked by a grey aluminium clad drum.
On entering the drum space the different components of the building are revealed. The curved wall holds the main working part of the building, with an open plan office and library at the heart of the building to signify its importance. The small aperture windows are at three different levels, and are placed in a 600mm thick wall creating deep sills which can be used for placement of personal objects. They also allow generous daylight and are supplemented with roof lights which are diffused with blinds.
Adjacent to this part of the building is another wing which forms the main educational space. There is a wide gallery from which a large conference space is accessed. This space can be subdivided into three seminar rooms. Each space has separate access outside into the enclosed garden, which was designed by Landscape Architect Annie Pollock. Outside of these doors memorable objects are positioned, such as a green watering jug, a blue frog and a yellow snail, these seek to illustrate memory associations and cues through objects.
In the centre of the plan is the two story part of the building, whilst the ground level accommodates cellular office space the first floor is home to a bedroom with en-suite and a living room with kitchen. Each of these spaces illustrates many design details which benefit those with dementia such as; glazed kitchen cupboards, traditional fixtures and fittings (taps and light switches etc), contrasting materials and colours on walls, furniture and floors, minimal use of patterns, with additional examples of contemporary technology and its benefits for both the resident and carer.