Along the Belgian coastline, 1,312 feet away from the shoreline, one hotel stands out of the crowd: "Middelpunt." In this pilot project for a holiday care residence, persons with a disability, or in any need for care, are given the opportunity to fully enjoy a relaxing and worry-free stay at the Belgian coast. A lot of the hotel guests (for example people with a degenerative disease) may rarely or never go on holiday. For themselves, and their families, holiday is nothing but a vague goal due to practical or emotional concerns. In Middelpunt, they are given an opportunity to forget about daily concerns, and enjoy a pleasant stay.
Gathered around a central patio, the whole project radiates openness and invites contact for those who want to interact. The ground floor achieves maximum transparency through floor to ceiling glazing, which evokes gaze-throughs and a shiny light-infiltration. It hosts all public facilities, such as a restaurant, lobby, seminars, and multi-purpose classrooms. Two levels contain all residential facilities and hover above the spatial ground floor. On every story, more intimate corners are designed to accommodate different levels of social participation throughout the building.
Two wings are fully equipped with technical infrastructure: one half of the building contains 24 accessible and flexible/adjustable rooms accommodating tourism for all, while the other half is provided for people with a degenerative disease such as Amyotrophic Laterla Sclerosis (ALS) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The outer envelope of the building, cladded with flamed basalt stone on the upper floors, minimizes energy losses by transmission. Low-temperature heating, based on the aesthetically integrated Concrete Core Activation (both used for heating and cooling), has an extremely low environmental impact.
The holiday care residence is daily run by “Mariasteen vzw,” a leading sheltered workshop in Flanders. In Middelpunt, people with a labor restriction perform duties in the reception, maintenance, and kitchen areas. These professionals also made the decorative paintings. The restaurant and bar, open for the public, make it a socially nested facility throughout the surroundings with a socially inspired statement; providing a carefree holiday for disabled people, while providing employment for people having trouble finding a fitting job.