The human factor and the needs of the future residents were key to the design. However, the immense force behind the project is a passionate commissioning party with a personal ambition.
Our society is getting older. We need innovative ideas for living together and new forms of housing. What challenges does this bring for architects?
We have a lot of experience in designing care homes and aging-in-place homes. The human factor is always taken into account. With all our design choices, we try to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Simultaneously, the architecture must visibly and invisibly comply with all requirements regarding the quality of the building and comfortable living for its residents. De Leyhoeve is a housing and care estate with 200 apartments, 85 care suites, two restaurants, one café, a lounge adjacent to the library, a swimming pool with a wellness centre, a shop and a day care centre. Many of the building spaces are flexible in their use so that the range of facilities can be adapted to new insights.
De Leyhoeve project is a new concept for a housing estate for older people and people who need extra care. In what way was that challenging for you as architects?
De Leyhoeve was given a very diverse target group with various care needs for their home. It was not to become a nursing home. There was a lot of room for personal wishes in the design, despite the large number of apartments and facilities. We consulted the future residents about the design of the building and its surroundings in various stages of the project. Residents could even try out living in the apartments. This turned out to be very enlightening in discovering the most important needs and expectations of residents. For example, the layout and construction of most of the bathrooms and kitchens were customised.
The slogan of De Leyhoeve is ‘Living comfortably, growing old together’. Where does the idea originate from?
Hospitality is the basis of the design. Hendrik Roozen from the Roozen van Hoppe Group – the developer and builder of the project – came up with the concept for De Leyhoeve several years ago. He saw how a couple in his acquaintance could not continue to live together after fifty years, due to the poor health of the wife. Hendrik Roozen wanted to create an environment in which the couple could continue to live together with various facilities nearby and where their children would feel welcome to visit.
This idea is also reflected in the restaurant and community areas, which have been designed to bring residents together with children, grandchildren and the younger generation in general.
Yes, definitely. It is important that you can continue to welcome your family and friends for visits, even if you have moved to a smaller home or have become in need of care. Your family can stay the night in one of the guest rooms in the building. The restaurants in the complex are accessible for everyone, including non-residents. De Leyhoeve also has a day-care centre that organises weekly activities for the children with the senior residents, such as storytelling circles and taking walks in the nearby Leijpark. This type of synergy makes living at De Leyhoeve exceptionally lively!
It took 13 years from the initial idea to the overall completion of De Leyhoeve project in 2016. Why did it take so long?
Most of the time was invested in searching and researching for the best location, the financial resources and finetuning the concept. Marquart Architecten was commissioned to do the design in 2011. Towards the phase of realisation the project went smoothly. The first residents were able to celebrate Christmas 2015 in their new apartments.
How did you incoroporate sustainability into your design?
Sustainable construction depends on many aspects; materialisation, circularity and maintenance play an important role. Bricks are a valuable product in that sense; it is a natural, durable and sustainable material that also offers outstanding comfort.
In your projects you often use bricks as a façade material. What effect does this have on the residents of the house?
Bricks are immediately associated with cosiness and give the building an authentic, classic appearance. For De Leyhoeve we used hand-moulded bricks in two warm-red shades and one brown shade: Terca Dinkelrood Flash, Dommelrood Gereduceerd and Marowijne Rood Zand. The three colours mark the different functions of the building and divide the façade. The deviating building blocks are brown and slightly darker, like the bases of the linking structure. All the bricks were provided with darker joints, making them a more unified whole. Despite the dominant standardisation, such as the windows and balconies, the façade turned out majestic and lively with a welcoming appearance.
What do you think architects could and should do to promote sustainable and healthy building concepts?
As an architect we have to offer sustainable alternatives to the traditional solutions. The implementation of sustainable solutions hugely depends on your client. With De Leyhoeve we worked with an exceptional client. We were able to complement Hendrik Roozen’s high ambitions and innovative ideas with our experience in architecture design for the care sector. Our team acted as a sparring partner for Hendrik Roozen and contributed many unusual and sustainable solutions. We were on the same wavelength, we just clicked, and that is noticeable in the design of the building.
Facts & Figures
Project nameDe Leyhoeve Woonlandschap, Tielburg, Netherlands
ClientRoozen van Hoppe Group
Terca Dinkelrood Flash, Dommelrood Gereduceerd and Marowijne Rood Zand
Year of completion2016