Düsseldorf’s Diakonia site needed reorganising and modernising. Some buildings, particularly the nursing home, were to be redesigned to meet modern standards, the church was to be positioned at the complex’s spiritual heart. Another aim was to develop an inviting structure, opening up the site to the wider neighbourhood.
The Diakonia Campus has created a new type of environment, a haven of social and religious welfare. It comprises a new church with multi-storey ancillary facilities, a U-shaped nursing home and a triangular courtyard created thanks to the church’s alignment at a slight diagonal to the line of the street.
A lively place for exchange and encounter
The only outward signs that the brick-built cube is, in fact, a church are the crosses – one slim and elegant in gold leaf, the others integrated into the brickwork – on one of its façades. The new 90-bed nursing home includes a cafe which provides a meeting place for home and local neighbourhood residents, particularly in the summer months when tables are set out outside. In the courtyard, benches under the mature trees invite passers-by to stop and rest
Continuity and familiarity are the order of the day here thanks to the use of local materials – brick buildings are standard fare in Düsseldorf and thus familiar to nursing home residents – and the skilful way in which they have been used in the clinker-brick façades. Inside the building, the division of space into manageable units and a carefully chosen colour scheme help users find their bearings and create a positive living environment.
The architecture reflects the Diakonia’s guiding principle
Light, bright and open are perhaps the three words that best express the feel of the development’s three- and four-storey brick buildings. The floor-to-ceiling windows, the glazed entrance to the church and the wooden-clad loggia of the nursing home all let in abundant light. The site layout opens up views into the heart of the complex from all sides, revealing at a glance a place where people can live, work and worship together, without let or hindrance. Designed in the image of the Diakonia’s own guiding principle, “Welcoming all with open arms”, the new campus shares this spirit of openness.