Purpose Built Home
Vale House was designed by Robin Edwards Dip Arch (SBU) RIBA of gbs architects, based in Oxford. “My understanding of this condition came first as a son when my mother developed acute dementia and then later as an architect while designing Vale House.
I lived close to the original Vale House in Botley and I approached Tricia after my mother had been placed in a nursing home by social services. Tricia offered my mum a place when one became available and she was fortunate to spend her last few years in a very caring environment.
It is very traumatic trying to help someone with this condition and I experienced overwhelming feelings of helplessness.
The team at Vale House helped me and my children, giving us a lot of support and this informed the way I approached the design of their new building with them. Contributions were made by the main charitable community, the staff, residents and their families.
Words like memory, independence and self-esteem, helped me shape my design and of course it should be welcoming and include outdoor spaces.
I adopted a part-2-storey plan. The ground floor surrounds 2 courtyard gardens of differing characters while a second floor sits only on the north side, allowing sunlight to flood into the courtyards most of the day.
The main circulation is around these courtyards and the rooms face outwards allowing views out of the building, but access only into the gardens, keeping the residents safe. Natural light was a major concern and a lot of effort was made to ensure that all of the home benefited from this. The low level roofs are planted, while the high level pitched roofs contain solar and photovoltaic panels. There are memory boxes for familiarisation and orientation in corridors and outside individuals’ rooms and areas to sit for quiet contemplation.”