The Manser Practice was commissioned to design a 30 bed unit in 1988; a brief which changed into the provision of 36 beds with 12 day-care places within the same budget. A project team was set up when the Bethlem and Maudsley Special Health Authority took over psychiatric provision in Camberwell in April 1991, which included ‘architects, builders, consultants, doctors and occupational therapists, some of whom had intimate knowledge of the needs of the people who occupy it and some of whom had only a passing knowledge’, according to John Stanbury, the home manager.
‘An abundance of natural light helps to decrease the incidence of depression’, says Stanbury.
‘At every opportunity - through clerestory lighting, by glazing the access corridors and by giving each bedroom a large, low-silled window - residents are bathed in the available daylight. The arrangement also means that each resident can be given a far greater degree of independence than they would under traditional, hospital wing-based regimes’.