AZ Zeno Knokke
In projects, Hopper, Pantagruel
Passing by Knokke-Heist, a city at the seaside in Belgium, a futuristic building grabs your attention. The eye-catcher is actually the new hospital of Knokke-Heist and won a prestigious award at the World Architecture Festival in Amsterdam. Maybe the choice for Extremis furniture has something to do with that? In 2007, the hospital organized a competition for architects to come up with a design for a new hospital. Three Belgian architecture firms (AAPROG, Boeckx and B2Ai) teamed up as a collective and won this competition. Eleven years later, the building is initiated and reviews are stunning. We were very curious about the why, how and what of this building. So we sat down with Hugo Van Leuven (Senior Interior Architect at B2Ai) and asked him everything about it.
Thoughtful choices from A to Z
Why did you make the choice for Extremis furniture?
"We chose for Extremis because the vision of Extremis suits this project very well: furniture with a strong personality, well-considered features and qualitative design," according to Van Leuven. "Because of the fast-changing weather conditions and powerful wind, sustainable materials are very important when designing a project near the coast. Extremis is an established Belgian brand and has a widely-known service record. That's why the choice for Extremis furniture was easily made."
"The Hopper picnic table was placed on the restaurant terrace, which helped open the table's accessibility. There is plenty of room at the head of the table for a wheelchair." Van Leuvens adds: "Coworkers love to lunch, relax and even have meetings at the Hopper."
"On the psychiatric department terrace, we chose for the ultimate piece of togetherness (in our eyes). We were looking into solutions that enhance eye contact between everyone at the table. Pantagruel was the perfect solution for this."
Do you see AZ Zeno as an example of biophilic design?
"Well, having access to natural light and being in contact with a green environment has a major impact on the healing process of a patient. Actually, it is beneficial for everyone. It can reduce stress, impact your productivity and contribute to overall wellbeing. Stacking the interior with plants and greens may not be the ideal solution," says Van Leuven with a chuckle.
"Because of the sophisticated architecture you can enjoy nature from inside the building. Therefore, we preferred a hospital in a green environment rather than a building in the city without green or daylight." Van Leuven concludes: "We designed this building with the users and their relationship with the environment in mind."
"I truly believe that AZ Zeno is the ultimate example of biophilic design."
AZ Zeno is the ultimate example of biophilic design because it was designed with the users and their relationship with the environment in mind.