Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Nursing home Boswijk in Vught, Netherlands by EGM architecten
September 24th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: EGM architecten
Personal and social space
The Boswijk is a care centre for elders with dementia, designed in close collaboration with the client and with a strong vision as starting point. The centre was to be of a scale that related to its users, and not to be like a traditional nursing home. In spite of their dementia, the patients should be able to live their lives as it always was.
The result of this vision is a centre, where it turns out the patients need less medicine, because they are more relaxed, and where they are visited more often by their relatives, because it is a friendly and inviting atmosphere.
The centre is located in the beautiful surroundings of a park and the woods. It has been an important factor to create a domestic atmosphere, with clear division of privacy and public areas. The project is designed in small scale as a one storey building, and is designed like a village with 12 ‘houses’ reaching out from the central streets, that work as a public area with a café, a hairdresser and other functions.
In between the houses reaching out, are open green spaces. The central streets offer views to the outside and gives access to each of the houses, making it easy for the patients to find their way and giving them the opportunity to walk around freely on their own terms.
In the design there is a clear division between the personal space and the social space. Nine patients share a ‘house’ as a family, where they have a common living room and kitchen. Here they can meet around domestic activities, and for instance cook their own food – just like they used to
The patients can retreat to their own room, when they want privacy. Here they have their own access to outdoors, and can be by themselves.
They can go to the central streets when they wish to be social and drink a cup of coffee in the café or go to the hairdresser. They are free to choose their level of privacy or social interactions with others, giving them control of their own situation within the boundaries of the village.
As an open structure with the central streets in the core, the building lets in daylight from different orientations. The streets are designed to be like an outdoor space to give the patients the impression they are out in the open in a public area.
To underline this feeling of ‘outdoors’ the space is opened up with glass facades and windows along the ceiling, letting light deep into the space, and making the space seem more transparent and closely connected to the outdoors.
The windows are placed at different heights, some along the ceiling and some are placed lower, enabling views outside for those in wheelchairs. The patient rooms are bright and open. In their design they are shifted from each other, resulting in cornered facade, enabling light to enter from two different orientations and enabling various views.
Relation to nature
The Boswijk is situated in beautiful green surroundings close to a forest. People with dementia are vulnerable to impressions from outside, and the tranquil surroundings serve as an important calming factor. The open structure of the building enables an optimal contact with the tranquil greenery around, as the patients are in close relation to nature, wherever they go in the building. There are views to the outside from the central streets as well as from each of the patient rooms.
All the patient rooms have access to the outdoors, underlining the patients’ feeling of freedom as they can step outside in the fresh air.
More information about the project on: http://bit.ly/1eDsNU0
More information on Healing Architecture or Evidence Based Design on: http://bit.ly/18myP4W
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Category: Nursing Home