Ali Devellerez

Design Case Study: Things of Stone and Wood by SPH architecture + interiors


Ali Devellerez is a director and owner of SPH architecture + interiors. She has 18 years of experience practicing architecture predominately working on therapeutic projects focused on healthy communities and aging well. Ali has completed postgraduate studies in design for dementia at the Dementia Services Development Centre, Stirling University, UK. An advocate of person-centred design, Ali's adopts a design process based on consultation and the latest design research.


Exemplar design for dementia - a case study of a residential aged care project. This project has improved the lives of people living with dementia in regional WA. The project includes refurbishment and new construction.

Design for dementia principles:

  • Unobtrusively reduce risk: A safe environment without impeding on the sense of freedom. A discrete garden wall provides a secure boundary, NOT a locked building.
  • Small groups: Groupings of 6 and 8 bed wings, smaller groups feel safer and provide less stimuli.
  • Visual access: Clear line-of-sight to ensuite, simple wayfinding and minimal corridors.
  • Minimise unhelpful stimulation to reduce distress: doors not intended for access have been “masked” in neutral colours.
  • Optimise helpful stimulation: Highlighting important aspects with colour, doors to bedrooms coupled with memory boxes for personalisation.
  • Support movement: Visual interest, rest points for recollection and wandering, seating nooks, clearly demarcated walking paths.
  • Create familiar spaces: Environments should reflect what is familiar to the person. The design is based agriculture-style buildings relevant to retiring farmers. Exposed timbers beams and stone reinforce nature and encourage reminiscence.
  • Environments should feel home-like and avoid institutionalisation. Brick has been used for its human scale and familiarity.

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