French country home designed and built for patients with autism

Champcevrais-croix_saint_jeanBurgundy, France — In a small village called Champcevrais, several miles south of Paris, sits a country home especially designed and built for patients on the autism spectrum.

The residence, which incorporates innovative technology designed to calm patients with autism, includes a therapeutic building and carefully designed interior specifically intended to prevent anxiety in its residents.

The person behind the sophisticated care home, designer/architect Emmanuel Negroni, had little knowledge about ASD when he first accepted the project. But his painstaking research on the developmental disability paid off when the country home, which he carefully and meticulously designed to address sensory sensitivities of its would-be residents, was finally completed and has proven to be exactly what it intends to be— a place where individuals on the spectrum can live calmly. According to Negroni:

“I was obsessed by one thing, that the residents don’t feel as if they’re in a hospital, locked-in. So I removed the hallways, which can be anxiety-provoking, and imagined a system made up of elliptical vaults that bring volume while being protective.”

The residential facility was named “l’Eveil du scarabée” or “The awakening of the beetle” due to the building’s shape and what the actual insect symbolizes, which is resurrection. The “l’Eveil du scarabée” is currently home to 18 individuals on the autism spectrum aged 20 to 60 years old. The facility was built with a system commonly used in concert venues— which makes use of perforated sheeting walls (also known as sound traps) lined with acoustic insulation, and ceilings made of plasterboards with acoustic features— to keep to a minimum echoes as well as all other sounds and noises.

The “l’Eveil du scarabée” also features an innovative interior wherein the atmosphere can be adjusted as needed. Its residents have great access to views of the sky as well as the nature that surrounds the facility, which the administrators can also subdue if the patients find them too aggressive. For the facility’s artificial lighting, Negroni said he used LED lights so as to make the facility’s atmosphere programmable according to the patients’ needs. He told:

“You can choose a stimulating light in the morning and softer in the evening. It’s even possible to select color codes corresponding to different times of the day, at mealtimes for instance. These signs can be useful for those who have trouble setting themselves in time.”

The “l’Eveil du scarabée” also comes with a computer room, an infirmary, a restaurant with a bar, a therapeutic kitchen, and a sensory room with balneotherapy— all of which located at the facility’s central square. The residents’ bedrooms are organized into five “houses”, all of them equipped with their own bathrooms.

Negroni was intent on designing the place in such a way that the facility will not give the patients with autism the feeling that they were in an actual medical facility. He told:

“One of the challenges was to erase the medical aspect, all the while conforming to the needs and regulations, which are very restrictive for this type of building, and without going over the 2,000-euro-per-square-meter budget.”

Negroni’s tremendous efforts in designing and building the facility has definitely paid off, with him being awarded a prestigious architecture award at the ArchiDesignClub Awards 2015.

Contributed by Althea Estrella Violeta

Source: Sandrine Cabut on the WorldCrunch website: In French Countryside, A Home Built Especially For Autistic Patients