The competition Who Cares, an initiative of the Government Architect and the National government is all about innovative and future-oriented visions on Dutch residential areas, offering solutions for the aging of the population and developments in the health care sector. Within this context, diederendirrix, Delva Landscape architects, Vitaal Zorgvast and Unitid, presented the project ‘De Dwarsstraat’ in Carnisse, Rotterdam.
The starting point of the concept is that the nursing home as we know it, is no longer satisfactory for the contemporary demands. The goal is to extend independent living in the family house. Health care is hired if necessary, and activities take place in the same neighborhood or city. In Carnisse, 70% of the dwellings are porch flats. These apartments are often not suitable for receiving care. Therefor an uncomfortable dilemma is risen between people in need of care and their type of dwelling. The expectation to live longer, independently, in the family house, is in this area almost impossible.
The nursing home was a very efficient solution for organizing different kinds of living, health care, advise, community activities and meetings in one building. The corridor was the meeting place. It was a conditioned connection between the different services in the building.
‘De Dwarsstraat’ is a project which aims to accommodate a diversity of stand-alone functions within the neighborhood. A central positioned cross street (‘dwarsstraat’), almost without addresses, will be transformed to a promenade. Like a comfortable and safe route, it will fulfill the role of the corridor in the previous nursing homes. A social capacitor which connects adjacent existing and new residential areas with the services in the rest of the neighborhood.
In this plan, old age and disease are no longer hidden, but take part of the everyday living. ‘De Dwarsstraat’ therefor creates the opportunity to increase the self-organizing ability of civilians and a collective solidarity.