The newly established REMS (high-security small-size residential facility) of Reggio Emilia is the first national benchmark; it is a rehabilitation and prison facility, not yet been regulated as for standards on size and functions, and its design has actively involved the Design Group, but also the whole dedicated healthcare staff that will be responsible for its usage.
The project is focused on overcoming the concept of “prison cell” as small room in favor of the idea of “small apartment”, a space seemingly similar to home space without the constrictive bars to windows and doors, in order to enable an indirectly therapeutic relationship of lived space. The Rems of Reggio Emilia therefore assumes the form of a psychiatric residential facility but with better choices on the security measures and patients’ wellness.
There are two hospitalization areas, one with ten beds (destined for intensive mental care patients) and one with twenty beds (maintenance and rehabilitation). Rooms, all single rooms, are furnished with a bed, wardrobes with controlled opening and shelves, a built-in wall television, a wide panoramic window accurately designed to meet aeration and lightning needs, and a bathroom designed to rule out any self-harm problems.
In order to have a room concept with the highest familiarity, furniture was designed to be as built-in masonry furniture, so that it creates a particularly nice space that is in line with security requirements.
The Project includes the usage of materials that combine styling appeal and perception with easy maintenance, by using solutions that ensure noise reduction, especially in the rooms destined for rehabilitation activities.
Finally, in addition to the energy saving and exploitation of renewable resources, plant system solutions included sensory and perception variables of prison inmates. That is why heating is an in-floor system, and all electrical and electronic devices are placed according to criteria of security and control by the staff.