A community centre with flats for the elderly

A community centre with flats for the elderly

From the outset, it was clear to us that we had to make this place meaningful. The design should really become more than a well-functioning diagram. The project must have the potential to connect a community, in recognition and togetherness.

Our society is rapidly disintegrating because people can no longer identify as individuals in the larger group. The speed at which diversity is increasing and the distance between people is growing is frightening for many of us. And it is this fear that alienates us from each other in distrust and incomprehension and makes us fall back on our small selfish identities.

As a society, we must reinvest in the interpersonal fabric that holds us together. We need a recognisable place of community again, where there is room for ‘diversity in connectedness’. Where there is room for what binds us, as citizens and large-small people in this strange world.

The project proposal literally brings everything back under one common roof. It is the metaphor of the rural barn or the village hall where everyone comes together. In each case, immediately different and therefore recognisable as ‘something of us’.

It is a convincing contextual attitude that measures up to the scale and history of the surrounding landscape. The ground level runs uninterrupted under the roof and connects all programme parts in a non-hierarchical whole. The intention is to create a ‘marketplace’ that feels freely accessible and open, without too much hierarchy, with the functions immediately visible and easily accessible to everyone. This ‘juxtaposition’ of functions also makes them flexible in time and space. Programmes can shrink, grow, disappear and reappear. The clear structure of the shell and the ’round-around-front’ approach allow for this.

The two entrances to the dwellings are included in this effect. Residents can either separate from or go through the service area to their private homes. This attention to social overlap works throughout the entire project. We aim for omnipresence for everyone, but with respect for the necessary privacy of each individual.

The upper roof is inviting and clearly inhabited. The spacious terraces with attractive awnings radiate openness and a sense of freedom, as if we were on holiday in Hoevenen.

It is precisely this warm, open unassuming generosity that the identity of this proposal wishes to convey. For everyone.

Unfortunately, we did not win this competition, but we are nevertheless proud of the result.

Technical info



Design team

Archiles architecten, Compagnie-O, Democo