The Motherhouse of the Franciscan Mission Sisters in Asten has been thoroughly renovated. The number of sisters has diminished over the past years and the average age of those that remain is increasing. To make meaningful use of the Motherhouse the sisters wished to establish a care- and nursing home. Initially this was to be for the sisters themselves but later also for lay women. VAN AKEN were requested by the Amaliazorg Foundation to develop a plan for an extensive renovation.
The Motherhouse in Asten consists of various buildings from differing periods. The oldest is a villa from 1898. Extensions in the form of extra wings and a chapel were built in the 1930s, 60s, 80s and 90s. The buildings are functionally connected to each other but from a architectural point of view have nothing to do with each other. The “Bossche School” style is combined with less strictly defined styles from various periods resulting in differing atmospheres. VAN AKEN added their own signature. Besides the renovation of the existing buildings a choice was made to rebuild the right wing and for a newly built extra wing.
The old chapel (Bossche School style) is preserved in the design. It is a small, tall building with elevated windows, which gave a sober, austere and cold feeling. By means of a few simple adjustments , such as use of floor heating and two new 6 meter high screen printed windows, the cold impression is alleviated. A lot of attention is paid to the 'traffic junction' located next to the chapel. Here various rooms physically meet, there are several areas with general facilities and something which could be described as a central area. This room has roofing, nonetheless it gives the impression of being outside. Natural stone is used for the floor and the chapel’s outside wall serves as the inside wall here. A large roof light is made in the ceiling so that a surfeit of daylight appears.
In the front of the building the nunnery’s garden forms a very special area where a typical combination of cloister with columns and wide passages are to be found. Even should the nunnery no longer be used for its original purpose this provides a tangible reminder of how it was. In the apartments the modern and contemporary aspects prevail. The sisters have their own bathroom, a pantry, and areas for sleeping, living and eating. They can be quite self-sufficient and even can be nursed in their own apartment when necessary.
Stichting Kloosterverzorgingshuis van de Missiezusters Franciscanessen