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Designing for vulnerable people

The support of vulnerable people is a subject that is important to us. We are convinced that each situation requires a suitable contextual response of its own. Whether accommodating children with disabilities, elderly people, or people needing psychiatric care, several constants are found in each of our projects: places of life that welcome and protect, spaces for thoughtful and functional support, and sensitive research on materials and furniture. We design integrated living spaces within perfectly functional institutions.

Welcoming each child in their difference

Creating a framework conducive to the development of children who need care or specific attention requires a detailed understanding of the issues and peculiarities of the environment. Our teams have acquired this expertise through several long-term collaborations. For nearly a decade, we have been assisting the Royal Institute for the Deaf and Blind (IRSA) in the restructuring and extension of its Uccle campus. A child with a disability needs to develop in structured and stimulating spaces. That is why, for the restructuring and extension of the Alexandre Herlin Institute (specialised teaching of children with intellectual disabilities, hearing impairments, and visual impairments), we proposed the creation of several new playgrounds, located away from the entrances and car traffic, providing soothing spaces for children with a common disability.

In Maaseik, as part of another long-term collaboration, we had to restructure the BuSO/BuBaO school (teaching of children with intellectual disabilities, behavioural troubles, and autism) in order to create new classes, a central reception, a gym and a covered playground. By giving a new face to the school and opening it to the street, the project reflects teachers’ desire to increase the accessibility of the infrastructure and to make visible the activities of the school.

Specialised school BuSo/BuBaO

Future plans for our seniors

Providing a dignified and stimulating home for our seniors is a priority of our architects. In recent years, innovative programmes have emerged thanks to the progressive vision of institutions and associations that we are proud to support. These harmoniously blend structures for childcare with housing for the elderly: projects such as the Oleyck care campus, the new Borgenstein district and the intergenerational complex of Nice Méridia all constitute programmes of the future, affirming a new way of sustainably reintegrating older people into our society.

The other key to a dignified and humane accompaniment is the individualisation of care. In particular, we conducted a specific reflection on the reception of disoriented patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, as part of the nursing home King Baudouin. This resulted in the creation of specialised patient accommodation and a short-term post-rehabilitation pilot project. In the accommodation units, the community living space is conceived as a free plan, oriented towards a therapeutic garden and in direct relation with the rooms. It unfolds along a curved facade, largely glazed, contributing to patients’ intuitive orientation. Islands of fixed furniture define the common areas of the living room, the dining room and the kitchen.

A project of the future embodying traditional values

Case study - OLEYCK

A project of the future embodying traditional values

Nursing home King Baudouin

Walls that protect rather than walls that enclose

Conscious of recent developments in mental health care, in contrast to a coercive architecture our architects promote an architecture that accompanies and supports the therapeutic approach of care teams and opens perspectives for patients. Because the rehabilitation of every patient, regardless of their voluntary or involuntary commitment, is the central element of the therapeutic vision.

In all our psychiatric projects, we take care to articulate the collective character of the accommodation with the specifics of the patients’ care in respect of surveillance, security and health. For the restructuring and extension of the Jean Titeca Psychiatric Hospital Centre in Schaerbeek, we were led to reflect on the integration of a secure institution in an urban context in order to create a peaceful and safe living and working environment. In the context of the accompaniment of patients suffering from stabilised chronic psychiatric disorders, the question of collective housing is central. That is why, for the Mental Health Care Home (MSP) of Chêne-aux-Haies in Mons and for the MSP Jacques Ley in Schaerbeek, our teams conducted sensitive research on materials and furniture used so that they are robust and soothing.

How to give meaning to “living together” while meeting the specific needs of each resident?

Case study - BORGERWIJK

How to give meaning to “living together” while meeting the specific needs of each resident?

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