Text description provided by the architects. Along the Belgian coastline, 400m away from the shoreline, one hotel stands out of the crowd: ‘Middelpunt’. In this pilot project for a holiday care residence, persons with a disability, or in any need for care, are given the opportunity to fully enjoy a relaxing and worry-free stay at the Belgian coast.
A lot of its hotel-guests (for example people with a degenerative desease) may rarely or never go on holiday. For themselves, ànd their families, holiday is nothing but a vague, never worry less goal in life, due to practical or emotional concerns. In Middelpunt, they are given an opportunity to merely forget about daily concerns, and enjoy a pleasant stay.
Gathered around a central patio, the whole project radiates openness and invites for contact for those who want to. The ground floor has a maximum of transparancy through floor ceiling glazing, which evokes gaze-throughs and a shiny light-infiltration. It hosts all public facilities, such as restaurant, lobby, seminars and multi-purpose classrooms. Two stories contain all residential facilities and hoover above the spatial groundfloor. On every storey, more intimate corners are designed, in fortune to accommodate different levels in ‘social participation’ throughout the building.
Two wings are fully equipped with technical infrastructure: one half of the building contains 24 accessible and flexible / adjustable rooms accomodating ‘tourism for all’, while the other half is provided for people with a degenerative desease such as Amyotrophic Laterla Sclerosis (ALS) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The outer envelope of the building, cladded with flamed basalt stone on the upper floors, minimize energy losses by transmission. Low temperature heating, based on the aesthetically integrated Concrete Core Activation (both used for heating and cooling), has an extremely low environmental impact.
The holiday care residence is daily run by “Mariasteen vzw”, a leading sheltered workshop in Flanders. In ‘Middelpunt’, people with a labor restriction do the reception, do the maintenance, the kitchen… They even made the decorating paintings. The restaurant and bar, open for the public, make it a socially nested facility throughout the surroundings with a socially inspired statement; providing a carefree holiday for disabled people, while providing employment for people having trouble finding a fitting job.