073 Coda Wuustwezel

New building for a palliative care centre

Procedure Pilootproject Zorg PPZ4
Client Coda vzw
Surface 2350 m2
Phase building application
Date 2013 -

Coda provides specialised palliative care for terminal patients and support for their families. Here, in a former monastery farmstead far distant from the hospital walls, the guests receive medical care, psychological counselling and warm social contacts. Some of them ultimately opt to die here in the hospice. The farmstead has a fine garden, an orchard with animals and an unimpeded view of the natural surroundings.

The monastery farmstead was gradually expanded into an informal collection of buildings that are now due for renovation. Thinking about new buildings also provides the opportunity to contemplate the way one wishes to offer care. The range of facilities on offer will be refined and extended to include two day-care centres, several short-stay rooms, the hospice and a palliative care expertise centre.

These services complement and reinforce one another, and we want to give spatial expression to this. A corridor with two enclosed gardens enables the various spaces to merge into one another and is used both by the residents of the hospice and the visitors to the day-care centre. While there is a stimulus to meet one another, the possibility of withdrawal is also retained.

We create homes with several rooms where relatives and friends can stay overnight. In addition to access via the corridor, there is also a terrace with its own front door. A projecting sloping roof provides a sense of security and creates space. A great deal of attention is paid to materials and details. In this instance, comfort is interpreted as the ability to continue one’s habits, as normality and familiarity.

We foster the fragmented nature of the existing farmstead. The new building embraces this imperfection and aims to enable an uninhibited way of living. A roof with a repeated form adopts the scale of the existing buildings, whose replacement will take place in stages so that Coda can continue to function more or less normally. In this way, the new building is a response to the existing ones, and will only be completely new in its final form, when it has replaced all the others, like a snake shedding its skin. There is time to get used to it, as the old lives on in the new. This sustained familiarity is important to an organisation that relies on the considerable involvement of volunteers and sponsors.