Koen van Velsen Architectenbureau, the namesake practice established in 1977 by the Dutch architect Koen van Velsen has recently realised this glass-and-aluminium rehabilitation centre discreetly located in a leafy forest near Arnhem in the eastern part of the Netherlands. The three-storey, 14.000-square-meters structure ‘is the result of an intensive collaboration between architect Koen van Velsen and the users of the building’ and encompasses a number of facilities such as a swimming pool, a gym, a restaurant and a theatre.
The centre was one of the six projects shortlisted for the 2011 edition of the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award, which was won by the London-based David Chipperfield Architects for their reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin.
About the project:
‘‘Groot Klimmendaal’ is part of a masterplan also designed by Koen van Velsen. The masterplan envisages the area, largely built upon by one and two-storey buildings, to be gradually transformed into a public park landscape. Revalidation centre ‘Groot Klimmendaal’ radiates self-confidence and self-control. The welcoming and open environment offers a natural habitat for care but at the same time allows plenty of opportunity for other activities.
The care concept is based on the idea that a positive and stimulating environment increases the well-being of patients and has a beneficial effect on their revalidation process. The design ambition was not to create a centre with the appearance of a health building but a building as a part of its surroundings and the community.’
‘A combination of large and small voids and light wells ensure a spatial connection between different levels and allow natural daylight deep in the heart of the 30metres wide building. Interplay of striking but subtle colours and direct and indirect (artificial) lighting enlivens the interior.
‘The use of energy is amongst others reduced by the compact design of the building and the design of the mechanical and electrical installations. Most notably the thermal storage (heat and cold storage) contributes to the reduction of energy consumption. The choice of selecting sustainable building materials and materials requiring little maintenance for floor finishes, ceilings and facade cladding result in a building which can be easily maintained and with a long lifespan.’