In 2014, the Saint Camillus residential campus of the Hospital Sisters of Antwerp was expanded with assisted living flats. This was done with great care in the light of its location on the edge of a large inner area close to a number of landmark buildings. The choice of clay bricks and the finer architectural details achieve a marked expressiveness and a successful integration.

Project details

Project Expansion of Saint Camillus Care Facility
Architect Stramien cvba
Client GasthuisZusters Antwerpen GZA
Products used Terca Passiebloem
Area 2,610 m²

Saint Camillus Care Facility covered with Terca Passiebloem

Saint Camillus Care Facility, Belgium © Chak Lopez

Saint Camillus Care Facility covered with Terca Passiebloem

Saint Camillus Care Facility, Belgium © Chak Lopez

Saint Camillus Care Facility covered with Terca Passiebloem

Saint Camillus Care Facility, Belgium © Chak Lopez

Now and then

The inner area once belonged to a monastery, of which only a chapel remains situated right up against the Saint Camillus nursing home facility that was built approximately 25 years ago, after the demolition of the monastery. In 2010, the Stramien architectural office was commissioned to study the possibilities for expansion on the site. The first result of their master plan and detailed studies was this building with 18 assisted living apartments, three studios and a caretaker’s residence.

Preserving space

Architect Bart Verheyen explains: “We put the structure on the edge of the inner area, so that barely any green space is taken up and the residents have a good frontal view. At the ront, the new building borders on the street, so that its care function is both literally and symbolically embedded into the area. The side wall leads residents and visitors into the inner area.”

Adapting to the environment

For the façade finish, the choice was made for clay bricks with purple, brown and orange nuances. Verheyen continues: “We aimed for an optimal integration into the surrounding environment. Determining factors include, in addition to the green, the large assisted care facility that is clad in brown tinted brick, and the Saint Laurentius Church in Art Deco brick style, which dates from the 1930s. The passion flower tints of the brick blend perfectly with the buildings.”

Combining the old with new techniques

The brick was adapted in an architectural manner. The horizontal and vertical layers of masonry are consistent with the brickwork of church façades. Thanks to the high frost resistance of brick, the walls could be finished with jointing mortar. The mortar is colored en masse and displays shadow joints that emphasize the expressivity of the brick façade. The result is a building that enhances the coherence and homogeneity of the site by presenting its own utility but with its own unmistakable identity.
 
The next phase of the program includes the expansion of the existing care facility itself. Permission has already been granted, and only the financing still remains to be determined. The goal here is to use the same materials and detail.

By connecting the inner zone and the surrounding streets, the master plan turns this formerly private space into an open, accessible green area for the neighborhood.

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