Homes for the elderly in a green setting in Heerenveen

De Zwarte Hond has designed a plan for 130 new apartments and 24 single-floor housing units in the green grounds of Stichting Service Appartementen Oranjewoud. The housing will in due course replace the foundation’s existing premises. The light, new buildings form an overall composition, whereby the undulating lines create a symbiosis between landscape, infrastructure and the development.

Dutch citizens are living for longer and staying healthy. In the coming 20 years, the number of people in Friesland aged 55 and over will increase by approximately 70,000. Several years ago Stichting Service Appartementen Oranjewoud began examining its housing. Its current premises are situated in the middle of a spacious plot with a splendid park-like environment; nothing else needs to be added to its present and future accommodation plans. Renovation of the present building is not an option. The market shows that there is a demand for a mix of apartments between 70 and 90 m² and, in addition, a number of housing units with ground floor access. The basic assumption is accommodation with the option of living independently or making use of services or care facilities.

The present plot has sufficient space for a new plan with a total of 130 apartments and 24 single-story housing units, spread out over the plot. In the new plan the existing green structure is enhanced with the design of an English-style landscape in which various buildings are situated. All-round orientation,  long sight lines and a centrally-situated water feature form the basis of the landscape.

The familiar country houses in the surrounding area served as a source of inspiration. Similar to the Oranjewoud country estates, the apartments and houses are developed in a strong, landscape composition. The route, with the country house as the visual end point, is an important component in this classic setting. Whereas, on traditional country estates, the main building is centrally situated in a landscaped composition, in De Zwarte Hond’s new plan, a number of buildings as a family form an overall composition whereby the undulating lines generate a symbiosis between landscape, infrastructure and the development.

There are a number of green islands in this landscape of greenery and trees on which the individual buildings stand. These are located so that the attractive sight lines over the foundation’s grounds remain intact. Between and around these islands lies a landscape of curved paths, water features and sloping stretches of grass. In this park-like setting the car is “a guest”.

In line with the residential landscape, the residential buildings on the islands are characterised by the undulations in the external areas around the apartments. Varying these on each floor creates a vibrant effect of staggered, spacious terraces. The choice of materials proposed is light and natural and in the ambience of the country estates in the surrounding area: white buildings in a green landscape. The base of each apartment block is in a light, tinted stone and the stucco work above alternates with floor-to-ceiling, glass panes. From inside, residents have a wide view over the green residential park.