Former assisted-living centre given a new lease of life

What to do with a strongly outdated assisted-living centre that has no future in its present form, but that’s still too young for demolition? This was the dilemma several parties were facing in the Dutch municipality of Horst.  

Housing association Wonen Limburg embraced the possibilities of this well-located property and transformed the four-storey building into an apartment complex. The building was comprehensively renovated throughout and given a new lease of life as apartment complex ‘‘t Bakenshof’ with a contemporary external face-lift using Rockpanel Stones façade cladding.

Twelve apartments are reserved for the mental health care provider GGZ which offers clients sheltered accommodation. Three of the 29 social rented apartments are set-aside for young people aged between 18 and 23 years. 

Naturally fire safe

The renovation project was completed in October 2017. People might recognise the outline of the building, but everything else has changed. The former assisted-living centre was totally remodelled internally. The existing structure has been converted into new apartments. The main entrance has been moved a few metres and an extension which housed a restaurant and day-care centre is gone. The area in front of the main entrance has been redesigned, with increased space for additional parking. 

The rust-coloured Rockpanel façade cladding really catches the eye. Patrick Bours of contractor Van Wijnen said, “The boards had to meet certain fire specifications. Rockpanel is already highly fire-resilient thanks to its core material consisting of compressed mineral wool made from the volcanic rock basalt. So, we advised the architect to use Rockpanel.”

Look fresh for years to come

Besides the fire safety and related pricing aspects, the low maintenance of the panels also played a major role in the choice made by Wonen Limburg. The Rockpanel boards have a long lasting surface and retain their original, fresh appearance for many years. This characteristic was certainly important for the architect too. An additional advantage was that after about six weeks, the untreated cut edges become natural in colour, completing the look. 

An additional, charming effect

This project is special for Rockpanel because the new Rockpanel Stones cladding range with the Mineral Rust surface design were specified for the first time. The 8-mm thick rust-coloured panels are supplied in various sizes to keep offcut waste to a minimum. In total, 800 m² of board material were installed, not only on the external façade but also in the stairwell and canopy at the main entrance. 

Although contractor Van Wijnen has used it frequently, for Bours it was the first time working with Rockpanel products, and he looks back on a satisfying working relationship with the Rockpanel team. “They showed us how the boards had to be fixed and explained how we could tack them onto the battening. It went very well. The result is exactly what the architect and the client had imagined!”