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From institution to home

In 1997 architectural practice Soeters Van Eldonk was commissioned to transform the ‘hospital atmosphere’ of De Buitenhof – a closed psychogeriatric institution – into a small-scale, homely and familiar environment for residents and caregivers. The use of colour in the interior plays an important part in this. From consultation between the designers and the client it emerged that lighter shades would be more comforting than aggressive, bright colours. The interior of De Buitenhof thus has a soft gradation from greens, yellow, reds, purples and blues and back to greens.

This integration of colour and space produces a rich, clear palette that helps to define the identity of each floor. The necessary safety features are seamlessly incorporated within the colourful walls and panelling. The personal atmosphere is emphasised by giving residents their own front door and with a personal name board which can be easily replaced when a resident dies.