The Therapy Tower is part of the masterplan for the conversion of UZ Pellenberg into a specialized rehabilitation-center. The tower flanks the north façade of the original sanatorium and stands with its feet in the surrounding park. To allow the southern-oriented living areas of the original building to fully enjoy the open landscape, new functions are planned on the north side which borders the steep slope around the park pond. By concentrating all therapy functions in a vertical stacking of exercise and treatment rooms, maximum connection is sought with the existing building while preserving the qualities of the park. The rehabilitation therapy experiences a special atmosphere between the treetops. At the very top, the sports hall looks out over the trees and forms a signal function for the environment.
The stacking is initially an impressive structure ("corpus") that generates a set of spaces, whose different dimensions, heights and orientations generate an endless range of possible uses, without being generic. In this way, the building was not conceived as a translation of a static program purely geared to the needs and standards of today, but as a set of various, adaptable spaces that respond both to the structure and the environment.
The therapists no longer have their own room to receive patients, but travel around the new spaces and programs to meet their patients together with other therapists in the new tower. For example, patients get to work in specific situations such as preparing a meal in the kitchen, helping themselves in the bathroom and practicing work skills in a work simulator. You could say that the wide range of architectonic spaces is used as a driving force for rehabilitation and preparing people for everyday or professional life.
Dressed with a light steel "dress" of open, closed and filtered modules, therapy is experienced between and above the tree crowns. The facade openings respond to the environment and the relationship with the existing building, and as a consequence regulate the atmosphere of the interior spaces.
The compact proportions of the Therapy Tower, with a relatively large depth in relation to the well-insulated facade area, ensure that the building scores well in terms of heat loss. Extensive heat recovery (e.g. residual heat from technical installations such as data rooms or waste water from the therapy bath) reduces the required heat production, which is basically supplied by a heat pump, to a minimum.
The experience of the surrounding that is changing in relation to the height in or above the park, the alternation of very diverse programs (car simulator, exercise kitchen, swimming pool, classrooms, gym,..., sports hall) and the varying structure, orientation and dimensions of the spaces ensure an exceptionally varied offer in the perception of the building.