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Dominique Coulon & associés, Calvados, France, Nursing home

Youthful Colour for the Elderly: Nursing Home in Orbec

The Home for Dependent Elderly People and Nursing Home, run by the hospital EPMS Marie du Merle in Orbec, includes a home for dependent elderly people, a nursing home, a day-care centre, administrative offices and a treatment department. The design of the public funded institute adopts simple materials and forms, while providing quality spaces for the different programmes within the complex.

Valuing the green and open surrounding of the site, the architects intend to reduce visual impact imposed by the building in the rural area. Living units are fitted into sections of the linearly arranged building, so each unit can have direct visual and physical access to the traffic route in front and the rolling hills behind. An interior street connects the sections, and is widened at certain points to form meeting points and communal areas. The interlocking building form provides south-facing courtyards, balconies and terraces, allowing outdoor activities in different weather conditions.

The youthful colour scheme of the healthcare facility brings lively environment for elderly users during their treatment. The facades of the building are painted green on the outside to match the meadows, which camouflages itself in summer but stands out in the winter snow. Contrasting to the natural and soft external appearance, internal spaces are painted with distinct vibrant colours. Clear diagonal walls of red and white mark different areas, while also highlight special corners and furniture. The designers has also adopted timber and metal to finish the interior surfaces along stairwells. In addition, large wide windows introduce the nature and natural light into the interior. These features help getting rid of the generic hospital environment, creating a bright and colourful atmosphere for the elderly users.

The landscape architect Bruno Kubler further breaks up the site with terraces in relation to the contour. The landscape links the building to a carpark with paths and planters in angular arrangements. A ring of trees is also planted along the periphery, providing a sense of enclosure and security to users.

Playing with colours and building form, the landscape-inspired building sets the scene for an unconventional rehabilitation experience for the aged.

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Further information:

Staff: David Romero-Uzeda, Olivier Nicollas, Chang Zhang, Javier Gigosos Ruipérez, Pedro Rodríguez Ruipérez, Ania Klukowski, Gautier Duthoit
Site management: Emilie Brichard, Jean Scherer
Planning of structural framework: Batiserf Ingénierie
Building technology: BET G.Jost
Landschaftsarchitektur: Bruno Kubler
Area: 5833 m²

Photographer: ©Eugeni Pons, David Romero-Uzeda
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