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The Sint Jozef residential care centre in Lier is an urban care campus: a cosy home offering quality care where the residents’ well-being is central.


The new extension is designed for 32 residents with cognitive disabilities and based on a vision of normal small-scale living. The extension consists of two 16-person residential units spread over two floors. On each floor, each unit consists of two houses with eight residents each. Between these two houses is a large communal area with a separable sitting area, a kitchen and a dining area. There are five assisted living apartments on the second floor.


A patio was integrated into the compact building. It provides light and visibility, as well as giving the residents a sense of orientation and creating a visual link between the two levels.


In view of the residents’ specific profile, it was important to design a building that was homely, navigable and accessible to wheelchairs. This was reflected in both the design and the finish. Considerable attention was paid to light and sight lines, as well as to having soft finishing materials that would create a warm feel, such as wooden floors and decorative wallpaper. The building is made on a human scale with small seating areas and small residential units, thus avoiding an institutional feel. The rooms are spacious and light; above all, they are designed to seem homely. The architecture allows for controlled movement of the residents, both inside around the central patio and outside in the experiential garden.


For the façade finish, a red-tinted brick was chosen, blending perfectly into the urban setting. This facing brick is interrupted by projecting concrete elements that frame the windows and create terraces. The use of exposed concrete is also picked up in the patio. Available flat roofs are designed as green roofs.


In addition to this new building, some of the existing buildings were also renovated: the grand café and the reception area with its associated administrative rooms. The basic idea was to optimise the use of space and to bring the premises’ look and feel in line with both contemporary tastes and the other campuses run by the non-profit organisation Amate in order to create cohesion. The Amate house style was therefore employed throughout the building. This meant a consistent choice in favour of a light timber structure, which runs throughout the building. In rooms for residents and/or staff, this light timber is combined with cheerful accent colouring, which is alternated to facilitate orientation within the building. The treatment of the entrance area was based on the same philosophy.


The entrance is clearly marked out by an open canopy on the outside of the building. The residential care centre is entered via a secure glass lobby which leads straight into the reception area and the grand café. The reception desk is very open; behind it is the more closed back office and the other administrative rooms. An internal central corridor was created for staff, as well as a public corridor running behind it, which provides access to one of the wings of the campus. All the offices receive as much natural light as possible through a glass wall. In zones that are also designed with visitors in mind, the light Amate timber is combined with black and grey highlights. This gives these spaces a contemporary touch, making them attractive areas for both people from outside and local residents.


This was especially important for the grand café, as it is the heart of the Sint Jozef care campus. It is a busy place where not only residents but also people from the local area come together to eat, drink, listen to a performance, play board games and so on. This space was opened up to admit as much natural light as possible. The terrace was widened towards the main entrance for maximum enjoyment of the open air in the summer. Small, cosy sitting areas were created, with a combination of different seating options enabling everyone to find a favourite spot. Performances were made possible by creating space to build a stage and an adapted sound system. In terms of materials, the light Amate timber structure and black highlights were used. A felt ceiling was used in order to ensure good acoustics. Petrol blue accents brighten up the room and are a subtle reference to the blue colour in the Amate logo.

Extension and renovation of the residential care centre + Renovation of the Grand Café

WZC Sint-Jozef Lier -
Koningin Astridlaan 4
2500 Lier
Amate vzw
Health & Wellness
5 301 m2
Structural Engineer: Fraeye en Partners
Building services: Botec
CSS: Bovex
General contractors: D’Hulst- Van Rymenant