Tales from the ARVInn 1

by: Robert Nalley | Complete Story | Last updated May 30, 2024

Chapter 14
ARVInn--The Residences

Chapter Description: The first ARVInn building was a former school, renovated to fit its new inhabitants, most of whom would have fit right in for its first use.

The Residences


Original building 2060 1

The original concept for the ARVInn was a semi-communal living arrangement, mainly for those from the immediate area.  During the planning stages, it became apparent that this would probably not work long-term, but it did allow the facility to get its feet on the ground.  It was decided that private spaces would be the best way to proceed.  

The building secured for the initial housing was a former school, with large high-ceilinged rooms.  It contained an administrative area, along with library, cafeteria and auditorium spaces.  A gymnasium was also on the property, along with several buildings formerly used by the county’s maintenance and transportation staff.

The large, open spaces of the existing classrooms were conducive to being restructured as smaller apartments.  As many of the ARV-adults were quite small, the spaces could also be made smaller, with furniture, appliances and fixtures sized appropriately for them as much as possible.  When architects McKay & Hill made their initial set of proposals, they were working with some basic principles:

  • o   Apartment size was to be based on the size of the occupant
  • o   Persons with similar needs should be grouped together
  • o   Personal support facilities should be located at the point of need.

Working with these parameters, the architects brought in suggestions which were designed to make the residents feel secure and comfortable within their own spaces.  The first idea was that the apartments would reflect their owners’ stature, rather than a standard size.  This meant that, for example, those who had ‘bounced,’ or stopped regressing, at a preschooler size would receive an efficiency which allowed them to live comfortably in a more normal manner, but would have a staffed aide station within their area to support their needs, since a considerable number at that age were no longer completely potty-trained or might need assistance with some fine coordination projects.  The design that was achieved there was the indoor tower, a series of two or three apartments stacked within a former classroom space, dubbed a “suite.” 

Because the residents were generally less than four feet tall, they would feel quite comfortable with a ceiling that was proportional to their height, rather than a traditional eight-foot height.  This meant that a suite could contain several small apartments.  An aide station within the same suite would allow residents who needed personal care to receive it quickly and discretely.  Small lifts gave access to each floor of the tower and made it possible to move supplies efficiently.  The apartments were designed so that maintenance could be performed from the outside, allowing workers who were larger to access the important connections without needing to enter the apartment itself.  Cleaning was generally left up to the residents, with assistance available if needed.  This has led to informal work-sharing arrangements among residents, depending on their personal likes and dislikes.

Other spaces within the suites were created for those who were physically older and larger.  Each level of occupancy was given the space best suited for the residents.  Having their residence physically sized to fit them also was shown to be less stressful, as it diminished the constant reminders of their loss of size.  Some suites were bi-level, some were mixed use, with smaller apartments located in a tower with a single larger one above.  Some groupings also had a commons area within their suite, with a lounge or fountain, where residents could socialize as desired, especially useful for smaller residents who might not have space in their apartment for someone larger than them.  Outdoor patios also became popular, some attached to individual residences, others free-standing. 

Meals were available through a dining service, where meals could be taken in a restaurant-like atmosphere or by delivery or even takeaway.  Each apartment also included appliances which the residents could use to prepare their own meals if they so desired. 




End Chapter 14

Tales from the ARVInn 1

by: Robert Nalley | Complete Story | Last updated May 30, 2024


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