Torhout, Belgium

Residential care campus connects city and countryside

St Rembert Torhout, a future residential care campus, lies on the edge of city and countryside. It is an exceptional quality that the landscape penetrates so deeply into the urban fabric of the city. With the concept ‘In 7 steps to living / care / landscape / campus’, karres+brands proposes to interweave living, care, and landscape into a new campus—one that is as much a care landscape as a care building.


The open space of the originally agricultural landscape is an indispensable part of the care centre, and vice versa: both support and strengthen each other, and guarantee each other’s existence. This creates a new, contemporary landscape ‘patchwork’ with varying degrees of openness and accessibility. By placing the residential care complex mostly between the adjacent neighbourhood and the landscape, the master plan responds, on the one hand, to the desire of the elderly to be part of a community and, on the other, guarantees views of greenery and the accessibility of the landscape. In this way, the neighbourhood is completed in an urban sense, and the complex can form a transition in scale and size between neighbourhood and countryside. The design also proposes a scaling down within the complex, but retains the required areas and functionalities. The size and dimensions of the nursing home are thus based on a human scale.


Besides the housing complex, small-scale residential complexes will be developed in the landscape in vacant agricultural buildings or at new locations. The area can thus gradually be transformed into a full-fledged agrarian landscape park, wherein the recreational potential of existing attractions, routes, and hospitality establishments can be exploited. The area serves as an example for the city Torhout and the region as a sustainable and social interweaving of living, care, recreation, landscape, and city.

Project data
Location ​Torhout, Belgium Google Maps
Assignment ​Master plan
Size ​53 hectare
Design ​2013 – 2015
Construction ​2015 – 2018
Status ​Master plan in development
Client ​Province of West-Vlaanderen
Team ​Sylvia Karres, Marco Broekman, Tomas Degenaar, Cristina Colonetti, Daphne van der Wal, Darius Reznek, Bart van Leeuwen
In collaboration with ​Plus Office Architects, Witteveen+Bos, ARA
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