A014_Europan GroningenGroningen, Netherlands
This hybrid apartment tower, eight-stories in height, is located along the Van Starkenborghkanaal, in an area under renovation characterized by the mix of housing and industrial buildings.
The complete new urban development designed by Casanova+Hernandez architects consists of two main elements:
1 A massive plinth that unifies the whole urban intervention and defines a new public space, sheltering living and working dwellings and business units, storages and facilities.
2 Three ‘crystals’ on top of the plinth, composed of dwellings, designed as light and transparent volumes.
The project explores the concept of social sustainability in residential areas by promoting the full integration of handicapped people in our society. The Hybrid Apartment Block avoids the traditional physical and psychological segregation of this group by experimenting with different strategies that can be summarized in the following concepts:
Mixing groups: spreading special apartments to avoid segregation
The tower consists of 50 apartments from which 20 have been specially designed for handicapped people following the design criteria of the Fokus program promoted by the Dutch government. The special apartments are spread throughout the whole building avoiding their concentration on specific levels and/or areas of the building.
A home is not a hospital room: hybrid building as a mix of independent dwellings and care centre
This project allows independence of the handicapped residents and at the same time provides a 24 hours care service centre integrated in the building (ADL unit).
Living independent, but protected
An intercom connects directly every special apartment with the ADL unit. Security and independence are the two principles that have been combined in this project to improve the social integration of handicapped people.
Architectural appearance: neutrality and no differentiation
The architectural expression of the building does not show towards the exterior the existing difference in the interior program. No hospital appearance.
Strong visual relations living spaces-street life
Many residents living in the special apartments have serious mobility problems and lay in bed the whole day. The windows of the apartments are designed as high openings from floor to ceiling, allowing visual contact with the exterior urban life.
Winter garden as semi-open space
The master bedroom is directly connected with the living room and both spaces have direct access to a winter-garden, a comfortable semi-open space that can be completely open in summer.
Fluid circulations around the house
The design of the Fokus dwellings following a circular circulation scheme is based on extra large dimensions of circulations, doors and rooms, assisted by home automation systems, allowing users to move easily through the whole house.
Chromatic differentiations of the collective areas and building levels
The use of different colours characterizes the collective spaces. This helps handicapped people to get better orientated within the building.
Dwellings interior differentiation as promoter of social interaction
The changing position of the windows in relation with the interior spaces in the different apartments, combined with the use of coloured glasses following an aleatory pattern dispersed in the façade, create interior spaces characterized by very different chromatic conditions, something that incites the neighbours to visit other’s apartments, promoting the social relations within the block.Hide Text