Boandik Dementia Village – Ridland Villas

An allegorical approach to enablement and connection to place

Ridland Villas for Boandik Lodge Inc. is a dementia-specific village in Mt Gambier, South Australia. It has been designed with a focus on celebrating the unique capabilities of the residents.

Central to the design is the focus on memory triggers and the significance of place. The design also focuses on elements of the rural landscape that are particular to Mt Gambier such as paddocks, tool and machinery sheds, the local jetty, housing and cathedral rooflines, the centennial tower and the famous Umpherston sinkhole. By highlighting the familiar, it is planned that anxiety triggers can be reduced, and quality of life maximised.

The design changes expectations in order to build an environment tailored to the residents. The common areas are located at street level while the six small houses of eight rooms wrap the perimeter of the site, framing two large parcels of landscape referred to as the paddock and the botanical. The villas largely follow the natural grade and gradually climb to the roof of the community facilities. This arrangement, while deceptively simple in construction, intentionally invokes the geology of the sinkholes endemic to Mt Gambier.

This is a regionally-significant initiative to provide specialised accommodation for those living with dementia and other kinds of cognitive decline. By providing this into the community it is hoped that this will provide assurance and comfort to family and loved ones that the future resident is living in a place made for and with care.

Innovative approaches to the design include:

  • an episodic approach to the arrangement of places and spaces on site
  • the use of familiarity to inform parts of the architecture
  • the arrival sequence into the site challenges the typology of this type of building
  • the inclusion of geo-thermal air handling
  • a “thermal street” that is occupied wraps around the inside face of the building.


Boandik Lodge Inc.


Mt Gambier, South Australia, Australia



Interior Design


Specialist Advisory Services


2019 - present (tender)


$15 million


Boandik is excited to be working with ThomsonAdsett on the ‘Big Sky’ concept for our new dementia village in Mount Gambier. We will be collaborating to develop an innovative design that supports people living with dementia to have control of their lives, be independent and remain connected to the community.

Gillian McGinty, Chief Executive Officer
Boandik Lodge Inc.