Het Dorp, Arnhem

Concept development

VanWonen, in association with BPD, Kochuch Architects, Marc Koehler Architects and Buro Harro, developed the winning plan for the redevelopment of Het Dorp (‘The Village’), a community for supported living, in Arnhem. Het Dorp will be a neighbourhood centred around quality of life, self-reliance and sustainability. Green space and experiencing nature are the main themes in the design, lending new meaning to a neighbourhood where people, both with and without healthcare needs, live together in a green and inclusive, high-quality living environment.

Het Dorp in Arnhem is located in the woodlands of Arnhem-Noord and was founded almost 60 years ago. It was the first residential community in the Netherlands that enabled people with a disability to live independently. The buildings in Het Dorp are in need of renovation and no longer fit the current needs optimally. The demand for care is also changing, as is the form in which care is provided. People increasingly feel the need for a living environment in which they are in control of their own lives, supported by technology, and are connected to their surroundings.

The location for supported living will be completely transformed into a green neighbourhood close to the city. For residents with a disability, a new residential care concept will be realised, consisting of 84 apartments with many contemporary facilities, such as a sports roof landscape, a health centre and a mobility house. In addition to the apartments and care facilities, more than 100 sustainable homes of high architectural quality will be built. The forested parks and collective courtyard gardens will encourage people to meet each other and connect. The village square, which will include a brasserie, will be the central meeting place. On this square, neighbourhood activities will be organised for all residents of the neighbourhood, both those with and without healthcare needs.

Healing environment
Environmental psychology has been central in developing the design for the buildings and public spaces. This focuses on connecting people, on the environment, behaviour and well-being. A healing environment consists of five key elements: nature, fresh air, daylight, peace and quiet, and safety. Seeing and experiencing nature and fresh air, both outside and in the buildings, plays an important role. Clear wayfinding points are also added to the environment. For the buildings, materials are used that blend into the environment and have a friendly and welcoming appearance. The residents can connect to nature through the presence of large windows, generous balconies and (roof) terraces.

Climate adaptive and circular
In the redevelopment, energy and natural materials are used very consciously. The buildings are designed to be flexible. All essential elements are renewable, reused or recyclable. This allows for the easy reconfiguring of the layout of the buildings to accommodate changes in the use. And that prevents demolition in the long term. The buildings and homes are equipped with a mix of sustainable and advanced energy systems with much attention to comfort (optimal heating and cooling). In addition to a sustainable approach for the buildings, the public area has been designed with climate adaptation in mind. Rainwater is locally collected for infiltration and 2 hectares of green zones are added to the area. New nesting areas for wildlife are created in and around the buildings. Het Dorp answers the demand for healthy and sustainable living and is therefore ready for the future.