For the departure area of the residencies we’ve built on the typology of the courtyard, the ‘hofje’, (well-known through the beguinages in Leuven, for example). The courtyard represents a protected living environment without feeling cut off from the city, or the community of Bertem in this particular case. A courtyard provides protection but also offers room for independence. It is small, gradually connections to the outside world and provides space for a garden, which reinforces the feeling of homeliness. We’ve positioned the studios and living rooms around a communal garden, ensuring that the corridors are always well-lit and the residents are in direct contact with the outside environment. The living rooms directly border a spacious balcony as well as the patio and offer a view of the surrounding landscape. This makes the outside life an important element within the living environment, which is something many of the residents at Sint Bernardus were used to in their past years.
Freedom of movement
Within the residencies, the residents have enough space to move about. This freedom of movement encourages freedom of choice as well as independence. Natural daylight plays an important part in the residencies’ setup. With the numerous built in vistas which are found on every floor, the residents as well as the employees are always connected to their environment.
The yet to be realised residential buildings have a main entrance, accessible from the balcony route. This route connects the buildings at Sint Bernardus with each other and the environment and is a car free, ground level route with a view of the surrounding landscape. The ground floors of the different buildings connect to the balcony route as well, providing areas for walking, cycling and meeting one another.