When septuagenarians Ken and Claire Stevens needed an addition to their Tacoma, Wash. home to accommodate Ken’s symptoms from Alzheimer’s syndrome, they turned to Ko Wibowo, who earned a Master of Architecture degree at Texas A&M in 1996.
Wibowo’s design, featured in the July/August issue of Dwell magazine, is an open, accessible space because declining motor control is a characteristic of Alzheimer’s.
There’s no door on the bathroom, and entryways in the addition are all at least three feet wide.
The design includes display spaces for Ken’s ceramic art collection to help him retain some of his memories and an enclosed deck to help keep him safe.
When creating his design, Wibowo referred to research published in Dementia Care and the Built Environment (387KB PDF), which emphasizes spaces for Alzheimer’s patients with abundant light and familiar objects, such as Ken’s ceramic collection.
“It was important how Ken and Claire were going to use the addition,” said Wibowo, principal of Architecture for Everyone. “But I also needed to respect the existing house and find a way for the addition to have its own merit.”
The addition, which is in a heavily wooded area, is based on the stump of a cut tree and its branches, said Wibowo.
“The stump is represented by the basement that supports the main trunk – the bedroom – while the branches are a cantilevered connection to the existing house, a study, the bathroom and the enclosed deck.”
His design also includes cedar siding that will weather to become the same color as the siding on the existing structure and window frames and a metal roof that match those of the existing house.
The Dwell article about Wibowo’s design is available at the Technical Reference Center in Langford A.