The Rehabilitation Centre Groot Klimmendaal is a gorgeous glass-clad building that sits tucked amongst a groves of trees in the Dutch forest. The project was also recently announced as one of the six finalists for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2011. A smaller footprint combined with natural daylighting and an interior circulation plan that encourages exercise are some of the interesting features included in the rehab and community centre. The Netherlands-based Architectenbureau Koen van Velsen is behind the design of the building in the middle of the forest as well as a large masterplan for the area.
The three-story building is clad in anodized, brown aluminum as a way of blending it into its forested surroundings. Described as a deer in the forest, the centre stands quietly amidst the trees. The small footprint nestles into the forest floor and expands up and out in a narrow strip pulling in natural daylighting through voids and light wells. Both the community and patients use the rehabilitation centre, which is composed of offices, a clinic, sports facilities, a swimming pool, a restaurant and theatre. A shallow wooden staircase connects all floors of the building and creates a varied circulation pattern that encourages physical activity.
Energy efficiency is employed as a sustainable strategy and is achieved through the use of efficient mechanical and electrical installations as well as the utilization of thermal mass, which reduces the need for heating and cooling. Sustainable and low maintenance building materials were also chosen for their long life span and durability. Koen van Velsen worked extensively with the users of the building to design it to be a welcoming and open environment that offers a natural habitat for care. He also developed the masterplan for the area, which includes one and two-story buildings that will be gradually transformed into a public park landscape.
Images ©Architectenbureau Koen van Velsen