Gortemaker Algra Feenstra Architects | Boligcenter Zierik7

Zierik7: From home to home
One last move to your own home

A nursing home is often the last place people live. We think this should be the most beautiful place you have ever lived. Unfortunately, practice is different.

Many residents of care centers do not feel at home there. What makes a house feel like a home? At least that feeling does not arise when you have to look for your own front door in a dark corridor, which you can not find because all doors look the same.
Also, a room where only a bed and a chair fit and where you can barely receive visitors does not help on the feeling of your own home.

With the design of Zierik7, we have together with the developer developed a new housing typology for residents with dementia. This also creates a new way of providing care. We translated the question we received from the customer Allévo, whether we could not design a home but a home for residents of Zierikzee, by giving them their own front door and decoupling the living area and meeting room. This gives residents freedom of choice and self-government and thus their own home.

The residential building is located in a public park on the north side of the Zierikzee. The new Zierik7 building consists of 93 homes for long-term stays and 30 studios for rehabilitation / short-term stays. The target group consists largely of the elderly with varying degrees of dementia.

The purpose of the design is to give residents their own home in the last phase of their lives, a sense of ownership. In an environment that is designed with care and in line with the need for your own place, an environment where there is something to choose from, attention to detail and close to nature.

The long-term homes have both a front door to the garden and an interior door. The premise of 93 entrance doors results in a twisted mass of buildings where the building blends into the surrounding landscape.

A large part of Zierik7 consists of one floor, which benefits the desired small-scale embedding in the environment. The pendulum of houses connects inside with a door to a public space where there are various meeting rooms with vibrant themes. These meeting rooms are called neighboring rooms.

Residents can meet in the various neighborhood rooms located in the heart of the building on the patio gardens. Here there is room for relaxation, meeting and therapy. The different interests of the residents are supported with different living themes such as the garden room, the music room, the dining kitchen and the games room and the different furniture.

Many landmarks have been incorporated into the design to improve orientation. Due to the structure of the central neighborhood spaces and a circle of houses around them, the houses are not connected by one neighborhood space. Depending on his / her preferences and degree of dementia, the resident can therefore choose a meeting room where he / she feels at home. It is therefore no longer the care, but the resident who chooses his meeting place.

The private studios all have separate living and sleeping areas. You’re not in anyone’s bedroom when you visit either! The studio is separated into two zones by a closet. On the facade, each house has its own pergola seat next to its own front door on a wide sidewalk to sit outside for a while. In shelter, close to own place. It lowers the threshold for residents to move and walk outside.

Before moving in, the family was already allowed to decorate the studios and then it is nice to see that a house is created with a lot of love. Precious cabinets are being re-opened or Ikea has been traded. The reactions were so lovely to hear; “My mom is finally getting her own house back, it’s really going to be a place where we like to go and sit in the sun.”

The design provides a lot of space for maximum daylight. From the individual studios where there is glass to the floor and seating near the window is designed for all routes. By adding daylight at the end of a corridor or through single-sided corridors adjacent to terraces, daylight is used to stimulate movement and meeting. It is important that residents can walk freely and not end up in front of closed doors. At the same time, you also need to prevent people from going through the glass with this target audience. For this purpose, we have designed so-called ‘window sills’ at the fronts, so that the residents can clearly see that it is not an opening. The patio gardens also serve as landmarks because each patio has been given a different type of planting.

The landscape design is made in collaboration with Bureau B + B. The starting point is the diversity of the gardens and the wide range of walking routes. The residents are thus motivated to exercise more and can choose their own route, adapted to their mobility. Various special features have also been designed to help with the orientation, such as a sloping fence at the athletics track, plants along the river and reeds at the Ronde Weel and terraces at the ends of the residential wings. Zierik7 is located in the middle between multi-storey buildings, primary school and nursing apartments. The square borders the schoolyard and the school children can also use the square in front of the brasserie and eat ice cream here. Local residents can walk through the public park.

In particular, we wanted to create a building that introduces a new care typology, but also an innovation in architecture for this target group. Sustainable, flexible for the future, of course. For the facade, prefabricated concrete panels and preserved pine have been chosen. The facade and the heart of the building in which the premises of the neighborhood are located are wooden structures. The roof of the mainly one-story building has a grass-herb roof. The solar panels are on the roof of the second layer. Water is fully collected on the property, and with heavy rain, the waders in the park fill up. A very conscious decision was made not to use suspended ceilings and wooden materials of plastic. We really wanted to work with materials that you would use in your own home. It provides space for the residents’ own input and care. This way, they can make the place completely their own.

In this podcast, architect Femke Feenstra talks in detail about the Zierik7 project from 37:12

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