De Kapel is a monumental farmhouse located on the southern edge of Zuidwijk, a residential district of Rotterdam. This national monument has been transformed by studio AAAN with De Kovel Architecten into a center for terminal care, Hospice de Liefde. The thatched building has been extensively renovated and expanded. With the addition of a new wing, the routing experience through the monument and the garden, as well as nature, light, and spaciousness, are used to contribute to a dignified farewell.
Ph. Sebastian van Damme
The 18th-century farm, an Overmaasse cross-section style, was designated a National Monument in 1975. From 1992 to 2017, De Kapel was used as a work center for adults with a (mild) mental disabilities. Due to major renovations in the past, the monumental value of the existing farmhouse now lies mainly in the typology of the building, the house, the old façades, and the imposing thatched roof.
Ph. Archive Boerderij
The former cowshed is used as the living room of the hospice. In this long space, the old monumental rafters are still visible. Other functions, such as the kitchen, reception area, guest room, and team rooms, are directly adjacent to this space. A double-height space at the head of the farmhouses the ritual space, a space where people can gather to bid farewell and commemorate in a Buddhist tradition. A glass corridor runs from the common areas in the farm to the new building with the guest rooms. The experience of greenery, nature, and light is central here.
Wooden columns, wooden walls, and cupboards give the room a clear rhythm. For the redevelopment of the farm into a hospice, the six guest rooms have been placed outside the old farm. The requirements for good living areas (sound, daylight, ventilation, and insulation) are difficult to achieve without affecting the monumental values of the farm. As a result, the new building is equipped with a ground-source heat pump, solar cells, and ventilation with heat recovery.
The extension’s architecture is inspired by the dark woodsheds found at many farms of this type. As a result, the farmhouse, together with the modest extension, forms a harmonious and natural whole in the landscape. Unlike a traditional shed, the new building has a modern design with bronze-colored frames and a zinc roof with integrated solar cells. The supporting structure, as well as the façade cladding and a large part of the interior finish, are made of wood.
Ph. Sebastian van Damme
The guest rooms can be reached from the corridor along the courtyard. Each room has a private bathroom, a wall-to-wall window, and a private covered terrace facing the garden of the farm. This room is a place where the guest can retreat to find peace and intimacy. A stay in hospice de Liefde is an intense period of life, in which the building offers a meaningful environment to bid farewell and commemorate in an attractive landscape.
DATE: 2017-2019 / LOCATION Kapelburg, Rotterdam, The Netherlands / AREA: 1069 m2 (built) / PROGRAM: hospice / STATUS: built / DESIGN: studio AAAN / COLLABORATORS: De Kovel Architecten / CONSTRUCTION: De Hek b.v. / CONSULTANTS: Pieters Bouwtechniek, Deerns (Installation) / PHOTOS: Sebastian van Damme, Herman de Kovel