Press release

New builds design to help rebuild the lives of domestic abuse survivors

Published on 11 June 2021

Helping survivors of domestic violence find safety, privacy and space to rebuild their lives is the aim of one Architecture project featuring in the University of Dundee’s Art, Design and Architecture Graduate Showcase 2021

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Lucy Troughton (25) has designed an innovative housing model for her final Architecture project that not only provides shelter for domestic violence survivors but offers a place for them and their families to thrive.

Throughout lockdown, the prevalence and awareness of domestic violence and abuse has been growing and has put strain on current social infrastructure. Pathways into permanent housing are challenging for these women and the risk of homelessness is a major factor in staying with an abusive partner in many cases.

Lucy’s proposed development, Housing First, is divided into 2 blocks of accommodation and contains 55 homes for single-mother families escaping domestic violence and abuse. Her unique design puts safety, security, and privacy at the forefront, with cutting edge window design and additional elevation to protect residents.

“I was inspired to focus my project on housing for women who are victims of domestic abuse facing homelessness as there is currently a shortage of available accommodation in Dundee,” said Lucy.

“Fifty percent of domestic abuse cases involve a child and currently only around half of Dundee homeless shelters allow children. Alongside that, there is a shortage of council houses for larger families.

“It has also been proven that putting someone in a permanent home as soon as possible will vastly reduce their other risk factors for homelessness. All of this made a very compelling case for me to look at families facing abuse.”

Lucy’s design ensures that abusers are unable to get in or see residents. Her distinctive design provides residents with specially angled doors and ‘invisible apertures’ all designed to prevent unwanted visitors looking in.

The ‘invisible apertures’ are a key feature in the model, they create the illusion of a brick wall from the outside while allowing light and air in from the inside as a normal window should for residents.

Lucy and her family and friends will be among the viewers from around the world when the launch of the Graduate Showcase is streamed live on its website at 6pm tonight, Friday 11 June. 

“When people face domestic abuse in their own home, they lose their safe space, it was really important for me in this project to find a way of giving their right to feel safe at home,” continued Lucy.

“I spoke to Dundee Women’s Aid who explained how lack of funding is leading to a surge in requests for emergency refuge. It was great to get an insight into the policy side of things and how the government are tackling the issue with new strategies.”

The Graduate Showcase celebrates the extensive achievements of the graduating students from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design and the department of Architecture within the School of Social Sciences.

The work on display will represent the culmination of years of creative development and hard work, with the website featuring expanded information on all students, including extra images and video content.


Hannah Adams

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 385131