Beethovenlaan
Rene de Wit

low-care and senior housing

HilberinkBosch Architecten as Architects

In the sixties, the city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch was expanded with a new suburb called ‘Zuid’, located on the south side of the city and composed around a large park: ‘het Zuiderpark’. A spacious, green villa area is situated on the southern edge of this park. In this quiet suburb the demolition of a primary school made space for a new development. Being in the proximity of the park, a small shopping mall and several medical services, the new development consists of 22 senior apartments, 10 patio dwellings for the elderly and 16 low-care units for people with a schizophrenic illness. This divers residential program is divided in three different volumes, which are loosely placed on the plot. The open space between the three volumes becomes a public park.


On the initiative of a group of parents, a foundation was established for the construction and management of a modest and secure housing complex for schizophrenia patients living in the community. These 16 two-room units are grouped around a green courtyard which can only be reached through a narrow passageway on the north side. The courtyard side of the dwellings has also been kept fairly closed in order to reduce direct stimuli from outside to a minimum. On the ground floor of every unit is an open kitchen in a living room overlooking the surrounding greenery, as does the bedroom above. The route upstairs is unusual: the stair starts in the living room and halfway up there is a big window overlooking the courtyard. It ends in a spacious landing with virtually no views out, which can be used as a ‘safe’ space in case of relapse or as a bedroom for a temporary carer. Behind the covered walkway along the west side of the courtyard are several spaces for shared facilities and support staff.


The architectural composition of spaces and facades in the three separate buildings is based on Dom van de Laan’s dimensional and proportional principles and uses his Plastic Number. (The Plastic Number works essentially on a perceptual bases and goes beyond the two-dimensionality of other systems such as the golden ratio. It brings into play the space and the material.) Together with the restrained colour palette (yellow brick, pale grey concrete elements and dark grey frames) and the meticulously designed garden and park, the complex offers all residents a tranquil and very high-quality living environment.

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