Yoana Yordanova

Interior & Environmental Design BDes (Hons)

The Swan Shell: Ageless home supporting single seniors


Yoana Yordanova

As a designer I aim to create beautiful spaces going beyond the threshold of decoration. The process of shaping the volumes of interior and exterior shapes brings me joy and purpose. My passion is to create spaces that seamlessly help and benefit the enjoyer on the daily by designing environments that challenge the ordinary in subtle and aesthetic manner.

The Swan Shell

poster advertising the building, 'The Swan Shell' with a sketch of the front of the building below

The project focuses on elderly who have unfortunately lost their significant other in later life and aims to provide support for them, tackling loneliness and other surrounding social issues. The concept is for short-term stay (for up to two years) during the period of grief. It is an alternative home with a dynamic environment that encourages healing, learning of new life-skills and re-introducing the widowers into the community but also the community to help and connect with the residents.

Over half of the people aged 75 and over live alone in the UK and the majority of them often feel lonely and even further those who are widowed are 5 times more likely to feel lonely. When I was doing my research I also focused on the neurological side of aging and loneliness and how we can benefit the aging mind. And the one thing that stuck out was the idea of a dynamic environment. Thus, THE SWAN SHELL is a project that in a subtle and almost invisible way pushes the boundaries of existing 'care home' and creates dynamic and encouraging space that help widowed seniors in the healing process.

The site is the Thomas Telford Victorian B listed building in Newport-on-Tay. The building comprises interesting rhythms and repetitions with curved shapes, arches, tunel and triangular forms, completed with typical for the style ornaments and columns. This character gives an opportunity for interesting conversation between period and modern.

I've kept the existing buildings and created two extension piers that are suited on the north and west axes. With the west pier being the more residential or private part and the north being more for the community and more dynamic rather than static. The new extensions are keeping the existing rhythm and material-wise the façade is covered in brass which enhances the reflections of the water. However, the rhythm and the repeating shapes are not only on the exterior but also on the interior.

Inside the west pier we are having a group of arches, dividing visually the space into three and we can see that the arches are placed so they follow the angle of the building. Looking from the inside the arches create a really interesting feeling and section of the building. It's like having an endless journey.

The two piers are reflected on plan and keep the repetition going with a joining glazed doom between them. The whole feeling of the interior was focused on warmth and nostalgic aesthetic with a lot of mid century modern inspiration. Using colours like terracotta and nudes, materials like wood and patterns like terrazzo.

Digital walk through the building

Details of development work

Overview of final presentation set-up, physical scale model and sketchbook work.