Residential building for Elderly People “De Vrie Hoven”
Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 1971-1974
Architect: Herman Hertzberger

The residential complex “De Drie Hoven” is intended por physically or mentally handicapped people, most of whom have reached an advanced age. All of them need care, and more especially, attention. The main aim was to create an environment in which each person, according to its limitations, would have maximum scope por social intercourse: the basis of a varied social pattern within thye confines of a small town.

The complex consists of a nursing home section, a section where a degree of care is provided, and a section with independent dwellings and central amenities. Because the combination of these very different categories of accommodation was aimed at maximun interchangeability, so that residents whose condition improved or worsened would have to be moved from one section o another as little as possible, it was obvious that the complex had to be conceived not as a conglomerate of separate buildings but as an urban area, in which all amenities would, in principle, be available and accessible to all residents.
These considerations led to the idea of creating a single continuos structural framework, based on the same modular unit, to meet the requirements of the highly varied and complex programme. The smallest unit capable of serving as the basic component for rooms of any size was calculated to be 92cm. The programmes for the resoective categories were subsequently fitted into an overaal building order, consisting structurally of a system of column, beam and floor elements.

De Drie Hoven“. Hidden Architecture