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.
LEBENsuhr Zopfmatte residential complex in Switzerland by fsp Architekten AG
August 11th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: fsp Architekten AG
The Zopfmatte residential complex aims to help and encourage residents to live independently in their own homes, whilst meeting their needs in every stage of life. The Zopfmatte housing concept demonstrates a forward-looking understanding of living arrangements for the elderly. In Suhr, the political, social and individual independence sought by (very) elderly residents is construed as assisted independence. The necessary occupational and organisational structures have been consistently integrated into the project. An on-site contact team is available to residents on a daily basis. Interfaces to the community are in place. The contact team plays a key role in the Zopfmatte operating concept. It consists of a contact person and a caretaker with additional responsibilities. Together they take care of the service office for the complex. Their main task is to help residents achieve independence, to provide them with information and to offer organisational advice if necessary, for example in their dealings with authorities and official bodies. Administrative operations in Zopfmatte are financed by the tenants and apartment owners by means of a flat-rate solidarity fee. Based on these conditions, \”Ageing in Place\” is achieved.
Contemporary accommodation for the elderly
Until now, there was no contemporary accommodation available in the commune of Suhr for elderly people from the region reliant on an obstacle-free living environment or support services. On the initiative of the municipality and with the participation of the population and experienced specialists, a housing concept for the elderly was developed and the LEBENsuhr cooperative founded. The objective of the cooperative is to help residents in Suhr to live an individual, self-determined life in conditions appropriate to their age. After a suitable, centrally located building site was acquired from the municipality, 26 owner-occupied apartments and 30 rental apartments are now taking shape in two buildings. The 2½ to 4½-room apartments have spacious floor plans and high-quality interior fixtures and fittings. All the indoor and outdoor spaces have been optimised for people with walking aids or wheelchairs, and are Procap-verified. The entrance area to each apartment forms the interface between the semi-public access and meeting zone outside the apartment and the private living space inside. The entrances are of varying sizes and each has a window overlooking the meeting zone, allowing residents to make spontaneous conversation with one another.
The neutral spaces are mostly accessible via corridors, allowing flexible use to be made of these areas, taking into account different housing needs and lifestyles. The main entrance to the buildings, with its Piazza leading to the community room inside, is of vital importance to the inhabitants.
It will even be possible for residents to prepare meals together in this shared facility. Other special features of the buildings include staircases lit by natural light, meeting niches with seating areas and a communal roof terrace. Particular attention has been paid to communication-friendly measures both inside the complex and outside the buildings in the easily accessible natural surroundings. All the apartments are pre-fitted with the necessary facilities to allow connection to the emergency call system. Extra-large communal areas and meeting zones designed to strengthen the sense of community, with washing facilities on every floor as well as shared hobby and craft rooms for individual use, enhance the everyday life of the over-55s living in the Minergie-standard complex. Partner institutions such as \”Spitex Suhr\” and an on-site centre for physiotherapy round off the range of services available.
The two buildings are interconnected via a joint, covered entrance area. The buildings and the apartments themselves have a cluster-like layout.
In accordance with the volumetric settlement of the buildings in the style of an evolved village structure, a variety of access and meeting zones with high-level amenities can be found in the inner area, with an atmosphere similar to that of a local village square. The appearance of both buildings is characterised by a cheerful façade layout and staggered balcony arrangement on the different storeys.
The site and its surrounding area are delimited on the north side by full-scale dominant buildings and by freely spreading constructions on the south. The two playfully arranged building structures are designed in response to the environment with a Z-shaped ground plan, ensuring that the complex will be harmoniously integrated and centralised. The important services such as shops, restaurants, public transport and public buildings are accessible on foot within minutes. A large square stretches between the buildings in Mühlemattweg. It forms an inviting entrance and communicative link between the buildings, as well as being a functional driveway, a representative event venue and the address that defines the identity of the complex. Visitor parking spaces and covered bicycle stands can be found alongside the access road leading to the underground garage. It is the diversity of the inhabitants which will make everyday life in the Zopfmatte complex so different. Zopfmatte will be an interesting meeting place thanks to the presence of people with different stories, experiences and ways of life. The outdoor surroundings of the residence are open to the neighbourhood and to the general population in order to create a recreational area offering a full range of services. This open space is linked to the adjoining area of unspoilt nature to the south, a fascinating combination of meadows, blooming shrubs and grassing, enclosed by light copse and bushes. A circular path interspersed with little squares and seating areas leads through the idyllic garden area. People can meet up by the fountain, play boules or try their hand at gardening in the communal garden.
Contact fsp Architekten AG