PPP care campus fully under construction

In Zedelgem (Belgium), a unique project is rising from the ground. A new nursing home, fully under construction, is to be the first result in Belgium of a public-private partnership on a community level. VK Architects & Engineers designed the care campus and is following up its construction.

In 2010, Zedelgem was the first community in Flanders to start a PPP to handle the strong increase of the ageing population. Other parties concerned include the Public Welfare Center of Zedelgem, nursing home group GVO Kortrijk and Familiehulp (Family Help) npa. Joining forces as “Care and Wellbeing Zedelgem npa”, they realize a care campus together.

At the end of May of last year, the first stone was laid of the nursing home. Hilde Crevits, at the time Flemish Minister of Public Works, officially started the construction site, together with Public Welfare chairwoman Ann Devriendt and Familiehulp-chairwoman Agnes Bode.

Almost a year later, the care campus is gradually rising from the ground, with most of the volumes clearly outlined. On some blocks, the façades are up. The finished campus will, besides the nursing home, also include a day care center, a center for short stay and 48 retirement flats. The npa Oranje (Orange) also plans to add a further 20 residences on the campus.

VK spread all of these functions over several detached volumes. This makes the site a highly social space for the surrounding neighbourhood. An underground car park with 105 places ensures a car free campus. The combination with a green, publicly accessible site improves the integration and embedding in society. At the same time, the inhabitants dispose of the necessary private outdoor spaces. In addition, the design shows a dynamic form, with slanting lines in the facades and roofs.

Two volumes with retirement flats will be completed by August 2015. The nursing home and a third volume of retirement flats is to be finished by April of next year.

Renewed emergency services Europe Clinics combine efficiency with well-being

Saint Michael campus (Etterbeek, Belgium) of the Europe Clinics recently put a renewed emergency department into service. Design-wise, VK Architects & Engineers wanted to incorporate both optimal efficiency as well as a sense of security.

Europe Clinics is the largest group of private hospitals in Brussels. It operates on 2 sites, Saint Elisabeth’s and Saint Michael’s, both situated in a very dense urban environment.

The emergency services of both campuses deal with an increasing influx of patients, urging a renovation of the department for Saint Michael’s. The design meets the functional challenges in various ways. The clean and clinical interior design is in keeping with the medical focus of the ER.

Also, since last year, Europe Clinics applies the ESI-triage system. This allows for an immediate sorting of patients according to five levels of urgency. This triage is reflected in the clear zoning of the space and in the colours on the box doors: red for high-care, yellow for medium-care and green for low-care.

In contrast, the design of the waiting areas focuses on the mental wellbeing. In this stressful context, VK has created a more informal zone that offers serenity. A place that expresses a sense of security. The 2 waiting areas, at the reception and in the centre of the low-care area, are furnished in warm colours and materials. The lighting and acoustical ceiling add to defining an informal and inviting area.

The waiting area in the low-care part has a striking anchor. A stylized tree offers a pleasing visual distraction. Foremost, the image calls forth associations that introduce serenity and peace in the hectic environment of an ER.

Careless living after 60

On April 30th, the Knowledge Center 60plus in collaboration with VK Architects & Engineers organizes a study afternoon on the feasibility of alternative financing for quality care. The event is held in the nursing home Edouard Remy in Leuven, a realization of VK and ba-p. Stéphane Vermeulen, VK’s director healthcare, concludes the day with a vision on the future of designing for the care sector. We look forward to the numerous presence of all sorts of care professionals, undoubtedly leading to a fascinating debate with a strong focus on content. This study afternoon promises to be quite a success, as 110 professionals have already registered to participate in this interesting program. More info on www.wonenna60.be (Dutch and French).

Ambitious senior care project looks into the future

In the village of Sijsele, an exceptional project for senior living has been put into service. De Stek is an example for the future of senior care. VK was in charge of the design and realisation of the care campus.

PPP with a new look

The care campus was situated on a central location closy by the village centre. Besides the nursing home De Stek, the campus has a Social Services House and House Orange, a day care for disabled people, both also by VK, and retirement flats. The latter are being realised and exploited by private partners. In this way, government agencies and private partners realise a care campus throughout all project phases, including exploitation. This collaboration gathers the strenghts of both sides of the spectrum to offer senior citizens high-quality living and care.

Lifelong living

Because the collaboration between government agences and private partners results in a well thought-out care program. For example, the day care House Orange integrates the retirement flats into their daily activities. At the same time, the campus as a whole offers flexibility for rising care needs. Also within the nursing home, the rooms have been designed to meet rising care needs, enabling the inhabitant to remain within familiar surroundings.

At the centre of the community

All buildings have their own architectural identity, but demonstrate cohesion by means of the applied materials. The buildings have been placed in a green, publicly accessible landscape. Furthermore, the Social Services House and the nursing home define a public square next to the street. A bus stop on the campus and a bicycle path in a former trackbed complete the means of interacting with the surrounding community. Last but not least, the public facilities (library, cafeteria, kitchen, multifunctional space) have been designed to welcome the surrounding neighbourhood, as it is the intention for the neighbourhood to use the facilities also for themselves.

Sustainable, also technically

Besides this sustainable look at senior care as part of our society, the nursing home also goes for an energy efficient approach. A borehole energy storage field, photovoltaic panels and a solar boiler create a sustainable care campus from all angles.