Robyn Melville

Interior & Environmental Design BDes (Hons)

H.A.B.I.T.A.T - Homes for the Ageing to Better Interaction Through Activity and Togetherness. Ageing is less a mental thing than it is physical.


By 2050 the amount of people over 80 is projected to triple and in present day there is a shortage of housing suitable for the elderly. There is no cure to our physical decline as we age but actively keeping the mind engaged has proven to reduce cognitive impairment. By challenging the stigma around “play” as we age, tighter knit communities can be formed through exercise and fun activities.

H.A.B.I.T.A.T is a residential complex for the ageing population designed to reduce loneliness and stigma which comes as we age and encourage engagement within the surrounding community promoting improvement in existing and new schemes. The Eagle Mill, a derelict industrial urban block within Dundee, has characteristics which lend itself to become a new sheltered complex through adaptive reuse. Through research of precedents and collaboration with those who live and work in sheltered housing schemes, a solution has been formed.

The New Urbanism movement theorises that a productive city should contain walkable streets designed for the people where everything should be a fifteen-minute walk or less, and buildings should be a mid-density “human scale” and multipurpose. By utilising these philosophies, I propose a “two-minute city” residential complex using an additional five elements – live, play, nature, community, and facilities – inspired by the building’s history, where the ageing residents can engage and prosper with the surrounding community from the comfort of their block.

A view looking east to the courtyard and residences from the vehicle entrance ramp.