Man Built VR Model Of Grandma’s Demolished Home To Help With Her Dementia
Mark Lewis, feared about the deteriorating health of his grandmother as she was suffering from dementia, a severe condition. His grandmother, Penny was living in one of the care homes in Australia. He was quite aware of the fact that people in care homes might be facing more social isolation during lockdown than they often already do.
He used to work as a landscape architect and Digital Placemaker at Place Jam. He decided to utilize his skills for a good purpose. He started devising plans that would not only bring happiness to his grandmother but also help take her down memory lane. Penny was initially a resident of McDowall in Brisbane, Australia.
Unfortunately, her family home was demolished back in 2004 and every bit of it was knocked downat that time. Not only this, all the memories associated with the place got demolished. Using all the photographs of the residential place and also his own memory, he produced an incredible virtual reality model of the family home. Through this virtual model, he was able to bring her beloved home back to life.
He did this with a hope of bringing her comfort and happiness back during such difficult times of pandemic. The idea struck his mind when he was lecturing at MMU (Manchester Metropolitan University). He was helping to run a module where they taught Masters Landscape Architecture students, a way to convert their masterplans into 3D VR experiences. He visualized a landscape or a place that existed back in time.
He pitied his grandmother for being struck in her room of care home. In addition, she was not even allowed to venture out into the communal garden during the pandemic. However, he knew that she was once fond of gardening as she used to live in the large property on Keona Road, McDowall, Brisbane for a period of 25 years. Though, the property was demolished and subdivided in 2004, he gathered his knowledge on digital tools to work on recreating the property.
All he wanted to do was provide comfort to her. He was very well aware of the importance of natural environment at a psychological level. Not only this, the element became even more important as it was highly familiar to her. However, he justified the virtual model by stating that we often see very lavish locations depicted in VR.
Additionally, VRs were used to create far flung places and natural wonders of the world. Nonetheless, the ordinary suburban landscape could be more meaningful if it had personal connotations.