On the outskirts of Bruges, in an open polder landscape of meadows, farms and small residential clusters, lies Het Vlot (the raft), a living environment for adolescents with behavioural and emotional disorders. To create a family atmosphere there are 2 autonomous units with only 6 co-habitants each.
At the end of a long driveway the main entrance is clearly pronounced by a large canopy. A wide bright hallway connects the two houses along a patio. For these clients a particular attention is paid to maximum differentiation of both indoor and outdoor spaces. 'Separation' is possible at various levels: in the living room, in the subsequent consulting rooms and bureaus, in the personal rooms, and at last in low-stimulus environments. Simultaneously maximum openness and transparency is pursued in the living room. The kitchen is, like in the 'traditional family', the heart of the house. In this way the supervisors always maintain an overview in both the efficient operation as well as in safety. In addition to the main entrance, both houses have an informal backdoor so one can 'come home' and identify with the house.
A patio between the units creates a sheltered outdoor area, which again offers other possibilities than the terraces on the open sides of the building.
The design and use of materials are derived directly from the immediate - agricultural - environment, a contemporary interpretation of classic elements. Out of a basic red brick assortment a selection was made of similar tones and different formats, in masonry with predetermined basic pattern. This specific combination creates a very pronounced and peculiar image, though very economically feasible. The distinctive outer shell is in contrast with the white courtyard walls, which create a sheltered place within the vast landscape.