Zhi Jian Fann

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Zhi Jian Fann, who is currently studying at the University of Sheffield, UK, was shortlisted in the Architects for Health’s First Student Health Design Award (2007) for the following submission. For contact please email: ara05zjf@sheffield.ac.uk

Elderly Corporation Brief – Conisbrough | The 21st Century Place


Eighty is the new sixty-five. The project is entitled Elderly Corporation and it looks at new ways of growing old in Conisbrough.

Early studies uncovered the plight of the elderly and unpaid social carers within Conisbrough and unveiled the global phenomenon of an ageing population.

What if pensioners only get their pensions when they are 80? What are the possible new roles and places for the elderly?

With the growing popularity of Gerontology [study of ageing] and relating to living with my grandmother, the project investigates the design concerns of the elderly and approaches an ideal place to grow old in with a holistic approach to elderly healthcare.


Located in the northern ex-mining town of Conisbrough, the studio envisions it to be a 21st Century place.

Working on a futures agenda, growing old in Conisbrough means being part of a network, a part of the community.

The Elderly Corporation adopts the structure of an enterprise to provide chances of interaction within the community through the provision of community services that tap on elderly life experiences.

The Elderly Corporation addresses the needs of the ‘young elderly’ to promote an elderly lifestyle while generating a means of financing this greater longevity through the sharing of life skills.

Located in a new linear green park, the studio evocates the collective nature of the different projects to work together to realise identified growth strategies to approach the regeneration of Conisbrough.


Located at the slope of the Craggs, between the two separate communities of Conisbrough and Denaby Main, the urban strategy of the Elderly Corporation is one of a collective intensity, connecting the higher ground with the lower ground through a series of new civic spaces while overlaying the elderly routine as a means for chance encounters.

The design vehicle was the elderly design concerns. The effect was based on the notion of interfaces and daily rituals.

Considering the daily routine of the elderly user, addressing their needs through strategic considerations and support all while integrating environmental and sustainable concerns to create a new, brighter place to grow old in.


The specialism of the project looked at an ideal elderly living environment at the scale of the apartment.

Support within the apartment for the elderly in their daily routine was translated into a strip of activity that provided infrastructure such as a bench, a place to hang one’s coat, to a seat to wear shoes and store them, storage space, display space, a work desk to a lounge seat in the balcony.

Materiality for the elderly was explored through understanding their preferences using interviews with locals and my grandmother back home in Singapore. Examining preferred colours, textures, functions using a series of play cards as a tool of investigation.


The intention of the Elderly Corporation is to provide a great place to live in after one’s conventional working life is over.

To be engaged in a fresher living and working environment in the later stage of life. In a brighter future engaged within a community, a part of Conisbrough, the 21st Century place.

The Architects for Health
First Student Health Design Award
was sponsored by



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