This two-storey, 110-meter long residential centre for people with mental disabilities has been designed in close conjunction with an existing tree structure. The resulting zig-zag- shape visually divides the building in smaller, human-scale areas, thus avoiding the perception of an institution.
Slowly rising between the trees, a structure of wooden boardwalks accesses the dwellings on the first floor, providing it with a secondary landscape with a unique quality of its own.
Every-group dwelling has its own entrance, with integrated sitting benches marking the transition between outside and inside. They are inviting residents to linger and interact with others, as do the retreating zones inside, featuring moos-clad floors and birch trunks.
The materials of the building are reflecting the rural setting in the wetlands of Holland and are providing the inhabitants with rich sensory experiences. The dark wooden siding of the facades are in strong contrast with the white frames around the windows. Traditionally, due to the cloudy climate, this contrast has been used often to lighten up facades. The gable roofs empasize the association with traditional houses, steering away even further from an intitutional image.
By using wood, natural insulation along with solar cells and ground source heating, the building is fully ecological, technically keeping with its natural architecture.
There is no institutional atmosphere in the interior of the building either. In the communal areas, soft earth and green tones prevail, instead of an ordinary system ceiling there is a ceiling covering made of different widths of wooden slats and thanks to a painting with transparent lacquered lime paint, no wheelchair access protection had to be mounted on the walls even in the hallways. The rooms have 2.90 meters of high ceilings and large windows, through which the landscape almost flows into the room and the bathrooms with their backlit mirror cabinets and relief tiles look almost like hotel bathrooms. It is astonishing to realize such a generous and high-quality building for only 1020 euros per square meter. Possibly this was thanks to tactical, creative, economic decreases, which are not even recognizable as such. The budget was even enough for a sustainability concept with wood fiber insulation, a geothermal heat pump and solar panels.
The result was a building that makes reference to local building traditions, yet at first glance looks thoroughly contemporary and above all corresponds to the idea of the inhabitants of a real house.
Möhn+Bouman Architects is an international architectural firm situated in Rotterdam, with 20 successful years producing high quality architecture. Founded in 1998 by Andrea Möhn and René Bouman, Andrea Möhn continues the office's activities from 01.01.2018 under the name AM__A Andrea Möhn Architects. Our projects include new buildings and renovations in a variety of sectors including healthcare, private houses, residential developments, low-cost housing, student accommodation, commercial properties and landscape and urban design. Our main interests lie in the influence of the social, cultural and economic spheres upon architecture today. Our research in this field, as well as our extensive interaction throughout the design process with the clients, have had significant impact on our work and approach. This multi-disciplinary approach resulting in numerous successful projects, many of which have received international attention and acclaim and appeared in publications around the world.