LEIDSCHE RIJN – Utrecht-based studio Versseput Architecten recently saw their ‘sturdy barn dedicated to people and health’ open its doors to the public. Het Zand’s new health care centre in Leidsche Rijn, the Netherlands, is an abstraction of the region’s horticultural past. Plates of weathering steel cover the building’s roof and façade, whose basic shape is inspired by the greenhouses and barns that used to occupy the area.

According to the architects, the mimicry is achieved ‘by minimising the interruptions in the outer design of the façade, giving the building as much of a closed outer skin as possible.’ The original and thoroughly studied exterior architecture is mirrored in the design of the interior spaces, where overlapping layers of printed plants allow visitors to experience the waiting room as a sunny courtyard.

Comprised of treatment and consulting rooms for primary health care, waiting and staff rooms, a Centre for Youth and Family and a pharmacy, the 2500-sq-m community health centre, features a series of environmentally friendly elements. ‘All the installations of the health centre are designed to collectively accomplish a 60% saving of energy compared to conventional installations,’ the architects say. Moreover, the abstract design concept means that future changes of function can easily take place – another approach to sustainability.

Photos courtesy of Corné Bastiaansen