Home for the terminally ill, 2021
Erlenbach am Main (Germany)

In a small town in the southern part of Germany a hospital is located next to a forest. The forest contains equal parts of deciduous and coniferous trees. The patients of the hospital and their relatives usually like to take walks in this forest. It is quiet, peaceful and dark. The time before imminent death can be somber. It usually is. Almost like the forest. I believe the goal of a hospice must be to bring some light and alleviation to people that are into those hard time. So I decided to give this forest a glade. A small house with a large garden. A walled garden that is supposed to give solace and to be a place where mourners can share their suffering and pain. Architecture itself can not relieve pain. But it can support people doing this.

What the architecture of the building reflects on a large scale, also occurs inside the building on a smaller scale. There is recurring sequences of lightness and darkness. There are only few very raw materials that provide calm and clarity. This clarity in turn is leaving space for reflection and thought. There is bright concrete and dark wood. Surfaces on which light and shadow are reflected. The building itself is accessed via a small forest path. Afterwards one enters a dark corridor. From there the light guides into a large garden hall. The garden hall is a common place to stay and sit. From here visitors can walk all around the garden, where mainly wildflowers and shrubs grow. At halfway a chapel awaits. Left of the dark corridor are the more private rooms located.Three spaces that contain a small library, a nurses room and a therapy room.

The building is quiet, but it still communicate in a subtle way. It tries to tell that darkness is always followed by light.

 

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