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Implementation of residences (yellow) and day centre / multifunctional space (green)

The user(s) speaking

How to create a (built) environment that supports and stimulates its users? Already in the competition phase, we spent some time in the day activity centre of De Kerselaar to participate together with the residents in activities such as making music, candle workshop, post studio, etc. In this way we experienced at first hand the environment and how it is used. This helped us to understand the unique profiles, demand of care and needs of the residents in order to create personas based on these (Scenario Based Design). These fictional characters guided the design and allowed us to design from the user’s point of view. In addition, we tested the preliminary design in the initial phase with a number of healthcare professionals in order to integrate their vision into the design.

A tailored home environment

By gathering information directly from the users and their environment, we were able to design in a targeted and efficient way, which subsequently resulted in a tailored home environment.

This manifests itself, for example, in the kitchen in the living area, which is the beating heart of every community. It is functionally furnished and supports independence in such a way that people in wheelchairs can also take part in cooking activities. Different seating areas have been created around it, each with its own atmosphere and degree of intimacy so that each resident can find a place of their own, depending on his or her state of mind.

In addition, the rooms will be delivered ‘casco’ so that the residents can furnish them themselves according to their own needs and taste: a room that can be arranged flexibly with a high degree of ergonomics and optimal functionality. The module of a room results from our research on the ideal environment for both a resident with a high physical demand for care and a resident with a need for a clear structure (mental care demand).

Plans of the residences

A home environment in a green setting

The surrounding green environment is an important quality of the site in Overijse. That is why we introduce views and terraces facing the outdoor environment in the residences, the day activity centre and the multifunctional space. In this way we increase the sense of orientation and create a link with the outside world.

Subsequently, natural daylight is an important point of attention within the design whereby we created a home environment that supports the circadian cycle of people. For example, we opted for a type of glass in which the quality and lightfastness of the incoming natural light is as high as possible and the living spaces are optimally oriented so that both morning, afternoon and evening light can be enjoyed. In addition, various summer comfort studies were carried out to optimise sun protection, thermal mass and ventilation strategies. For example, strategies of intensive (night) ventilation were applied in various rooms to improve summer comfort. In order to improve the summer comfort of the cafeteria, a ground pipe was also used, which cools the air passively in summer and preheats it with the ground heat in winter.
Finally, attention was also paid to the choice of materials. Preference was given to materials with a low environmental impact and finishing materials with low indoor air emissions.

Subsequently, natural daylight is an important point of attention within the design whereby we created a home environment that supports the circadian cycle of people.

Joost Declercq civil engineer architect & urban planner sustainability manager executive partner BREEAM & WELL AP
Daylighting optimization studies
De Kerselaar

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