The Vierstroom as client was still feeling the impact of writing off the existing building after 25 years. Due to its layout it could not be modified to comply with the current requirements and therefore had to be demolished to make way for a more flexible building. The main challenge for the design of the new nursing home was to make it suitable for the uncertainty of future needs.



Through a thorough analysis we realized that not the quality of nursing but the quality of living was the most important factor to achieve the best change of use for a building with an economic lifespan of 40 years or longer. The layout of the building and it’s structure includes the possibility to change every wing of the building from nursing into caring. In this way it can be gradually adapted to future needs of care. But even when nursing in the future completely differs to nursing now the building can be easily transformed in a residential building.


The single corridor in the nursing wings not only gives the building great (future) value but also a very pleasant ambient experience in its current state. A lot of natural light enters the corridor which are usually dark and closed in traditional nursing homes. Now a passage through the corridor with windows on different heights and of different sizes gives a variety of views into the gardens. Moving through the building is therefore never dull for both inhabitants and staff.

The layout of the apartments, which are set up in groups of 8 elderly people, offers the opportunity to organize nursing like a hotel. Four groups can be mixed so that people with the same way of living can find each other. The positioning of the living rooms support this freedom of living and making choices. In both current and future situations and bearing more individual people in mind this might be a very important issue.

The nursing home is situated on an island surrounded by water creating an urban quality most people want to live in the extraordinary gardens, the water, the entrance and the unique plaza, the architectural detailing in terms of shape and used materials make the building very accessible for residents and visitors, and ensure that the residents, despite the fact that they are living on an island, keep regular contact with the direct vicinity.

The movie below (Dutch) shows the nursing home in use.


Sustainable energy use
The building uses heat and cold storage (geothermal storage). This is a technology where the heat of the summer is stored in a ground aquifer (thermal battery) to be used in the winter and the other way around. By insulating the building at a high level the system makes the building extremely energy-efficient and energy sustainable.

We see an adaptable building as one of the most important factors to make it sustainable. When a building is able to adapt to new needs there is no necessity to demolish it. By focussing the design on living the building is able to become (even partly) a “regular” residential building, where the apartments can be defined in several sizes.
The penetration of natural daylight and views not only makes the building very accessible and a pleasure to stay in, but contributes to the flexibility as well.

The shading in the form of fixed blades ensures a sun protection that adapts to the seasons: in summer a high position of the sun and little direct solar radiation and in winter a low sun and high radiation. Without obstructing the view these blinds retain heat in winter and reflect the heat of the summer season. The designers sought a low-maintenance performance of the blades.

The exterior consists of low maintenance materials such as plaster, stony panels, aluminium, glass and steel. The window sills are set back and the roof of the plaza has a large overhang.

DESIGN: 2007-2009
SIZE: 12,700 M2 GFA,158 PLACES
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