Knokke-Heist - On 29 June, the Beau de l'Air project in Knokke-Heist will be officially opened. The partnership between project developer ION from Waregem and the French listed group Orpea has resulted in a project that meets the challenges of building assisted living facilities. Senior citizens want to postpone their move to assisted living facilities as long as possible. All too often, the over-65s believe that they will lose their independence, comfort and luxury by moving into such complexes. Beau de l'Air proves that in reality this does not have to be the case at all.
It was clear to the partners of the project from the outset that they did not want to compromise on the architectural quality of the building. The driving force behind Beau de l'Air is project developer ION from Waregem. For this project they joined forces with B2Ai from Roeselare, a renowned architectural firm with extensive (inter)national expertise. Together they succeeded in creating a concept that offers the perfect combination of high-quality architecture, sustainability and a residential environment that is adapted to the needs of senior citizens.
Architects Dennis Delvael and Kevin Huyzentruyt created the stylish design based on the idea that the atmosphere of a building is determined by the appearance of the construction. It was therefore important to strive for harmony between the architecture of the residence and the architecture of the seaside town. "During the construction of the residence we chose to align with the typical architecture of Knokke, with the materials of the façades being an extension of this," says Dennis Delvael.
The residential look was achieved through the use of white bricks and large windows, which provide an optimum feeling of space and light, and a stylish finish with durable wooden latticework, anthracite-coloured aluminium exterior joinery and natural stone. Finally, for the roof, the architects chose characteristic orange-red tiles and concealed gutters. As a result, the building blends in perfectly with the signature style of its surroundings.
The Beau de l'Air project represents an investment of 20 million euros. The building has 55 certified assisted living units that meet all the standards of the Residential Care Decree (Woonzorgdecreet). The flats are divided over two buildings, with a spacious courtyard garden in between. The building also houses a hairdressing salon, a lounge, a bar, a restaurant and a wellness area with an outdoor space and a large terrace. It also has 19 underground parking spaces and a car lift. Above ground there is a covered bicycle shed with a charging point for electric bicycles.
Walking into the building, residents and visitors immediately get the feeling that they are entering the lobby of a hotel.
Living in Beau de l'Air means not only staying in an architecturally beautiful building, but also living in luxury and comfort. Cédric Olivier of ION explains, "We wanted to create an assisted living facility where residents can enjoy their freedom and the necessary luxury. And as with our other projects, it was crucial that this was done in the best possible environment".
Each of the units exudes a a unique, comfortable and refined atmosphere. The stylish and luxurious finishings, down to the smallest details, and the use of high-quality materials such as parquet flooring, play a key role in this. Each unit is also equipped with home automation and a top-quality kitchen. The wide corridors, wheelchair-accessible washbasins and adapted walk-in showers create a user-friendly living space.
The heart of this project is exceptionally located in the "basement", a rather irreverent name for what the space actually has to offer. In fact, the spaces that are partly underground play a crucial role in the building: in addition to part of the residential units and technical rooms, they also house the large courtyard and the communal areas. The latter have a minimum height of 3 metres to allow sufficient natural light in and to create a sense of comfort.
The special inner courtyard can rightly be called the pivotal point of the building. This beautiful patio with a large pond is an absolute eye-catcher from the lounge area. It provides sufficient daylight in the surrounding areas and offers plenty of space for rest and relaxation. Moreover, the patio is directly connected to the courtyard garden, which is also accessible to all residents.
Of course, the comfort and safety of the residents also take centre stage. Orpea is responsible for the management and rental of the units, and provides entertainment, meals, care and a range of other services. For optimal comfort, the apartments are all equipped with the latest technologies and the residents have access to communal services such as cleaning, hot meals, grocery services, etc. Moreover, the assistance staff on site is on call 24/7 and daily activities such as bridge, theatre excursions, lectures, painting classes, etc. are organised.
At any time of day or night, the assistance staff on site can be reached via the centralised call system. Residents who need temporary or permanent care can always count on the services of Orpea. Beau de l'Air is a stone's throw from the Orpea Belle Epoque residential care centre and just a few minutes from the brand-new AZ Zeno hospital. "The 24-hour care in all its facets is guaranteed to all residents at all times,” director-residence assistant Anny Springael confirms.
When scouting a location for the Beau de l'Air project, the partners set out to find the perfect place for over-65s. The town of Knokke-Heist soon turned out to be an excellent choice: the fashionable seaside resort offers all the advantages active seniors are looking for: culture, nature and good accessibility thanks to the construction of the A11 motorway.
The direct proximity of public transport (tram/train) also guarantees optimal mobility and an independent lifestyle for the residents. In addition, the beach, the Lippenslaan, the golf club and the Scharpoord Cultural Centre are within walking distance of Beau de l'Air, so that the seniors do not have to miss out in terms of culture and shopping. Nature too is always close by and easily accessible, from green polders to the dunes, the Zwin nature park and the beach. All of these benefits in the immediate surroundings of the project show that the partners also focused strongly on the social aspect.