Rethinking the Nursing Home

This beauty of a building is a nursing home, recently completed by Aires Mateus Architects in Alcácer do Sal, Portugal. Unlike the imagery our mind serves us when we think of a nursing home, this architectural ensemble is light, stylish, minimalist and airy. The building is very well articulated aesthetically, with the striking geometric shapes and the well thought out recesses, which provide shade for the occupants.

Even though the structure is completely white, the effect of a checkerboard is created by the contrast between light and shadow. Rising and falling with the land, the building twists in the landscape and almost disappears into the hill at one end. The walking paths, surrounding the home, have different levels of steepness and take full advantage of the plot topography.

The interiors of the nursing home follow the same minimal design as the exterior. The rooms for the elderly are made in all-white colour scheme, with light gray accents. Each unit has an individual balcony, secluded by the walls on both sides. This gives the residents access to the outdoors and provides solitude, needed just as much as social interaction.

Photography by Fernando Guerra.