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Sergison Bates completes sheltered housing for young dementia sufferers in Belgium

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This project in the town of Kortrijk was completed in collaboration with Studio Thys Vermeulen, and incorporates an existing villa which links with the day care centre

The sheltered housing and day care building for young dementia sufferers forms one part of a network of care facilities set within parkland and includes a community centre housed in a refurbished Art Deco villa.

The new residential building has been designed to mediate between the low-set historic buildings and the more recently constructed and larger-scale urban edge of the park. Mirroring surrounding tall trees, the façade has a strong vertical emphasis, its pilasters clad in glazed ceramics.

Sheltered housing and day care centre, Kortrijk, Belgium by Sergison Bates architects

The interior arrangement of the new building draws on current understanding of early-onset dementia, as well as the precedent of the existing rooms within the villa, creating ‘little worlds’ to help residents establish order within protected, personal spaces.

Sheltered housing and designing care homes in Belgium is a sector that Sergison Bates is familiar with. The practice won a competition to design an €18 million care home in Kruishoutem back in 2012. It also completed a care home in Flanders at the start of 2018. The Wingene care home in Belgium, featured as a building study, has been designed to fend off the sense of it being institutional in any way.

In October 2019, Sergison Bates won another major competition in Belgium, this time for a 74,000m² mixed-use regeneration scheme in Brussels.

Sheltered housing and day care centre, Kortrijk, Belgium by Sergison Bates architects

Architect’s view

The new building mediates between the apartment building opposite, the church and the 1930s villa, providing an intermediary scale and a new urban edge to the east of the site. Proximity to tall trees inspired the façade, which adopts a strong vertical emphasis with a rhythm of stacked window assemblies and tall, solid pilasters clad in glazed ceramic extrusions. This creates a visual and material connection with the ceramic detailing of the villa, while providing a robust, maintenance-free building surface.

265 9100 p location plan

Location plan

Together with a creative response to current research on early-onset dementia, some of the spatial ideas found in the layout of the existing villa, such as the interconnected rooms in parallel planning, informed the design. The villa is organised as a series of parallel, interconnected spaces of equal size, each with a unique character. The wooden panelling, floors and decorations have the familiarity and comfort of old things and evoke the feel of the comfortable bourgeois home it once was.

To contrast the challenges facing those with dementia – disorientation in time, space and identity caused by memory loss – existing relationships with objects, routines and spaces are reinforced. Creating ‘little worlds’ organised in a personal way makes it easier to establish order within a sheltered, personal space. This influenced the layout of rooms: only a few doors are seen from one perspective, privacy is emphasised by recessed entry niches, through decoration, material finishes and layouts.

265 9210 p ground floor

Ground floor plan

Project data

Start on site May 2017
Completion August 2019
Gross internal floor area 4,250m²
Gross external area 4,500m² (new build), 780m² (villa)
Form of contract or procurement route Traditional
Construction cost €8.7 million
Construction cost per m² €1,650
Architect Sergison Bates Architects
Masterplan Sergison Bates with Studio Jan Vermeulen and Tom Thys Architecten
Client VZW De Korenbloem
Structural engineer VK Engineering
M&E consultant VK Engineering
QS Katrol architecten
Landscape architects burO Groen
Project support Katrol architecten
Main contractor Strabag Belgium
CAD software used Vectorworks

265 9275 s section


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