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Elderly Home Monnickendam​

With issues of today’s aging population it is necessary to redefine healthcare as we know it. In the spring of 2012 therefore five political parties agreed that the lighter healthcare packages, ZZP one to three, would not be intramural after 2013. The so-called Spring Agreement. This means that the elderly people that need sheltered living with some guidance, but also the elderly people that need sheltered housing with intensive counselling and comprehensive healthcare have to pay for the residential component themselves. With the need for intramural facilities (within the walls of a nursing home) and a greater demand for subsistence housing (the client pays), new concepts have to be created. The old nursing home typology (intramural) will largely disappear. Whether this is a big problem is uncertain but it can be prepared for.


From the thirteenth century in many cities “hofjes” were established.  They were small communities for the elderly that had been turned away from the business of city life. The founders of “hofjes” were often childless men or women who wanted to spend their money in a sensible way after their death. With this form of charity they hoped to acquire a place in heaven. Moreover, they often attached their name to the “hofjes”, so that their names survived after their death.


The courtyards were designed almost exclusively for women who still were able to care for themselves. For the men, there were so-called “proveniershuizen.” The practice was largely the same as with the “hofjes:” the men bought themselves in and after that, they were given room and board.


A “hofje” got its name due to its spatial structure, and not so much the specifics of the house itself. Private, small houses arranged around an open space facilitated with communal facilities such as latrines, washing facilities and an ornamental garden. Even without houses round all sides, a courtyard is often walled and accessible only by one or two entrances. In this way one could not get in unnoticed. Many courtyards had a doorman that closed the gates when required, the doorman was employed by the foundation that managed the courtyard.


The courtyard principle has perfect principles for new homes for the elderly here. 


Various types of spaces will help to change the interpretation of the landscape. The elderly home is an enclosed space, overlooking the water. The collective spaces at the heads of the wooden shed are made of bright rooms overlooking the dike, and in the three courtyards created one can feel as though they are lost in the wilderness whilst being in the security of the Hofje. 


Piet Oudolf has designed the “ornamental gardens” that enable one to imagine the feeling of being lost; focusing the senses on the feeling of wind, the calmness of water, changes in light and the smell of fresh flowers.

Project: Elderly home
Client: Zorgcirkel Waterland
Location: Monnickendam
Status: Voorlopig ontwerp
Team: Ard de Vries Architecten & Piet Oudolf

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