The new GASTHAUS: Communal Effort

Het nieuwe GASTHAUS

The vacant Loreto Convent in Simpelveld has been transformed into a local healthcare hub through a research by design. The concept consisted of focusing on the coming together of healthcare, recreation, and a community center.

New Life for Heritage
The neo-gothic Loreto Convent in Simpelveld has always been a place where nuns cared for others. The convent was founded in 1878, but has been vacant since 2013. In order to survive, the convent building must transform to accommodate the local community on a greater level. The Gasthaus serves three different groups of people:
1. Those recovering from illness or surgery can stay to receive temporary nursing.
2. Villagers have the opportunity to meet each other there, and may act as volunteers and support caregivers.
3. Tourists may visit given that it is possible to find tranquility and contemplation at a traditional location.

By connecting the convent to the village spatially, it will continue to play an important role in the local identity.

Elderly Care in a Shrinkage Area
The Gasthaus is a community center and a care facility for recovering elders entangled in the South Limburg healthcare system. It will activate the elderly, prevent loneliness and isolation while and bringing life to the village community. The new GASTHAUS is a non-clinical, familiar and comfortable environment that accelerates a successful return home.

The village network is a key element in the GasthausĀ“s design. It is not solely a question of architecture, but a spatial plan that fuses with the social fabric of the village. We consider every threshold when designing the Gasthaus starting with the bed of the recuperating elderly, through the living room, outside into the garden, over the streets, and to the landscape surrounding the village.

Communal Effort
The transformation of the former convent is the result of a communal effort. A strong team of healthcare, recreation and heritage professionals contribute to this research. The designer plays an exploratory, consulting role in this process. We map the spatial and social interaction of the village elderly and design principles that encourage exercise and independence in everyday environments. The result of the project will be a practical development plan for the Loreto Convent. The process will be gathered in a workbook, allowing the Gasthaus to inspire similar initiatives.

  • Location: Kloosterstraat, Simpelveld, Nederland
  • research by design: 2015 - 2017
  • Client: Creative Industry Fund
  • Partners: David Habets, Herbert Habets, Zuyd Hogeschool, Hermon Erfgoed, Meandergroep, LAgroup
Het nieuwe GASTHAUS

new public program for the village

Het nieuwe GASTHAUS

the garden as link between village and GASTHAUS

Het nieuwe GASTHAUS

linking recreation, care and public program in the village

Het nieuwe GASTHAUS

The Loreto convent is embedded in the green village structure of Simpelveld

Het nieuwe GASTHAUS

the GASTHAUS as a part of the village's spatial and social network

Het nieuwe GASTHAUS

making new routes and stimulating new routines

Het nieuwe GASTHAUS

meetingplace for the village and caring residence for the rehabilitating elderly