German design firm Dietger Wissounig Architekten recently used passive design principles to create a prefab, timber-clad nursing home in Graz, Austria. The two-story building is divided into eight housing communities, each organized around a "village square," or interior courtyard. The nursing home is surrounded by greenery on all sides, and generously sized windows allow residents to enjoy views of nature and natural light.
The architects constructed the prefab building’s wooden frame with cross-laminated timber and wooden beams. Untreated Austrian larch clads the exterior facade to give the nursing home a warm and friendly appearance; untreated, warm-toned wood and timber ceiling beams were also used in the interior to create a cozy atmosphere. Floor-to-glass windows stream natural light indoors to emphasize a comfortable home environment.
Each of the eight housing communities are centered around an outdoor space and comprise thirteen bedrooms, kitchen, and dining room for the residents and caretaker. The asymmetrical layout and variety of pathways in the building help provide a stimulating, yet uncomplicated environment for residents to explore. Each community is color-coded to help residents find their way around the building.
Images via Dietger Wissounig Architekten, © Paul Ott