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Site plan: Ensemble of 12 dwellings, some communal areas and a village hall in the existing village of Stedum
Site plan: Ensemble of 12 dwellings, some communal areas and a village hall in the existing village of Stedum

An impression of the courtyard: passing by or lingering
An impression of the courtyard: passing by or lingering

Site plan: Ensemble of 12 dwellings, some communal areas and a village hall in the existing village of Stedum
Site plan: Ensemble of 12 dwellings, some communal areas and a village hall in the existing village of Stedum

Along the courtyard; fast and slow routes
Along the courtyard; fast and slow routes

Vibrancy in the village gives residents a sense of the daily round and a feeling of social involvement.
Vibrancy in the village gives residents a sense of the daily round and a feeling of social involvement.

Proces: integration of local building traditions
Proces: integration of local building traditions

Design elaboration
Design elaboration

Residents can choose between overlooking the vibrant inner yard or the tranquil, private back garden.
Residents can choose between overlooking the vibrant inner yard or the tranquil, private back garden.




PROJECTINDEX
 
DWELLING WITH CARE
Academie van Bouwkunst Groningen
ARCHITECTURE

Design for a small-scale elderly housing project in Stedum, a village in Groningen province
I don't believe that architecture can change society but I do believe that architecture can contribute much by opening up avenues and provoking situations.
It is a big step from a private dwelling to a communal old age home. Too big, in fact. Harm Tilman noted in 2006 that 'where health and social care increases, the dwelling component recedes'. The transition is probably the greatest in rural areas, where elderly people often have to move to a care home far from their village. Not just that, the current standard for 'small-scale' forms of dwelling with between 24 to 48 units is often difficult to fit into a village structure, if not impossible. My self-imposed brief was to design a small-scale elderly housing project in the countryside where the transition from private to public is uppermost. My intention was to soften this transition from private dwelling to communal institution.
The residents of health and social care homes are not particularly mobile. Village life close by keep these residents involved in daily life and the rhythm of the day. A feature of the village of Stedum, where this study is set, is its dynamics. With its remnants of 'pillarization' or politico-religious division, it has fixed times when children travel to and from the various primary schools, clubs and sports associations. To infuse the care home with this village vibrancy, one of the existing cycle and pedestrian routes has been worked into the scheme. This is helped along by hitching the communal functions from the old age accommodation programme to a modest one for a village hall. This gives a bona fide village hall that serves residents and villagers alike. The communal functions can encourage the residents to make their way there.
The design adopts the stepping stone principle at various planning levels. At the urban level the scheme restores the age-old relationship between the village core atop the artificial hill or 'terp' and the open landscape. At plot level, villagers and residents are incited to leave their homes and make their way here by providing communal areas that vary from active to restful.
The scheme consists of 12 dwellings, some communal spaces and a village hall. The composition of the ensemble, its formal idiom, construction, material form and routes all derive from the composition of the existing village, but are worked up into unique solutions relevant to our time. Much thought has also been given to the types of individual dwellings. Variously sized dwellings are housed in an ensemble of discrete buildings. There is a stepped transition from public space to the more private zone of each dwelling. By contrast there is a direct relationship with a private outdoor space and each dwelling has its own front and back door. Dwellings have a flexible spatial subdivision and a zoning based on the provision of health and social care. Many decisions were made during the design process by designing from an eye-level perspective. What do you see when you walk, stand, sit or lie down?