The construction of the wijkgezondheidscentrum UGC Nieuw Gent was an excellent oppor- tunity to reorganise the Rerum Novarumplein, and at the same time to give structure and definition to the green environment. The Rerum Novarumplein plays a role as a square where various public services are located: the OCMW building – a police station – a service center with library – the Christus Koning church and now also the community health center. A green open space has been created between the community health centre and the OCMW. Here was an opportunity for the OCMW to create a south-facing outdoor space, adjacent to their multi- purpose room.
We used the open quadrant of the square as an entrance area and private outdoor space for the employees. A narrow strip was also left open on the south side. The consultation rooms were given a small “privacy buffer” to the public domain. In the planning we paid a lot of attention to the separation of the public and the private, an inviting and easily legible and optimal circu- lation, plenty of daylight and high-quality spaces for the thirty-five employees.
We designed the building as a passive building and used a massive, heat retaining material, masonry, to moderate diurnal temperature swings. The building scores well on acoustic and thermal comfort. We wanted a building with very little maintenance. The facade was finished with masonry of rough red nuanced brick. The material is vandal proof and lends itself to an appearance that radiates robustness and human scale at the same time.