R-Building of the East Limburg Hospital

Genk, Belgium

Plenty of space
to rehabilitate

Exercise is healthy and important. And it becomes all the more important after a heart attack, during cancer treatment, or with certain psychological disorders. Patients need to be able to physically rehabilitate as quickly as possible. The longer people remain inactive, the more difficult it becomes to return to normal life. Together with East Limburg Hospital and the LOW agency, we designed a building that provides space for rehabilitation in all kinds of ways.

From inside out

In the new R-building, people can rehabilitate in small groups or individually, both indoors and outdoors. During their rehabilitation sessions, they can be accompanied by cardiologists, physiotherapists, dieticians, occupational therapists and psychologists. The various rooms are arranged flexibly according to patients’ cardiac, oncological or psychological needs. The large rehabilitation room in the sports medical centre offers additional space for exercises with its double height, and the large windows offer a wonderful view of the green surroundings. Rehabilitation is also carried out on various trails directly outside the building. Because of this flowing connection with the outside, the boundary between inside and outside is blurred. This supports the patients’ personal path, which ultimately leads to self-reliance and return to society.

Rhythm and openness

The R-building, which also houses outpatient clinics and a general practitioner’s office, is easily accessible. Due to differences in ground level, the main entrance is at -1, along the street. Level 0 is an extra entrance for cardiovascular rehabilitation and level 1 houses the multidisciplinary outpatient clinics, which can also be accessed from the adjacent G-building via a footbridge.

It was the client’s explicit wish that the building not look too functionalist or strict. Therefore, the facade consists of various modules of anodised aluminium, which constantly reflect light in different ways and give the building horizontality and dynamism. These modules provide the building with a different rhythm in each direction, corresponding to the different functions.

Clear structure

The clear pattern makes the square building very flexible. For the outpatient clinic, in particular, this flexibility is a major plus. On the outpatient floors, the treatment rooms are in the middle, and the corridors for the doctors and nurses run in a ring around them, offering a view to the outside from the corridor and the consultation room. Patients and professionals thus have their own routes, which increases efficiency, privacy and job satisfaction. In the interior, four basic materials (concrete, wood, aluminium and glass) provide peace and harmony.

Simplicity creates sustainability

The facade is light, both in appearance and weight. This benefits the overall heat protection, requiring less energy for cooling on hot days. The choice for a simple and sturdy shell that is easily adaptable thanks to its generic dimensions makes the building sustainable. If desired, it can be given a different function in the future and last for a very long time. Like renewable energy, longevity is another form of sustainability.

“The cooperation with everyone involved was great. You can see that in the result: a clear, inviting building that different kinds of users feel comfortable in. ”

Reni Bouwhuis
Architect

“The cooperation with everyone involved was great. You can see that in the result: a clear, inviting building that different kinds of users feel comfortable in. ”

Project data

Location
Genk, Belgium
Functie
Multifunctional building with GP office, pharmacy, consultations, rehabilitation and offices
Size
5,200 m² GFA
Period
2018 – 2022
Status
In design (technical design)
Client
East Limburg Hospital
User
East Limburg Hospital
Team
Tim Loeters, Reni Bouwhuis, Reinier Blankenvoort, Wendy van Rosmalen, Inge Geurts
In collaboration with
LOW architecten, Ingenium, ELD