Ter Apel, Groningen


Centre for asylum seekers with various amenities


Balast Nedam; Heddes Bouw en Ontwikkeling





The future occupants of the new centre for asylum seekers in Ter Apel come from a wide range of living environments. A refugee from Syria has very different frames of reference to one from Eritrea. Despite that, they will have to spend time sharing the same accommodation harmoniously in Ter Apel — in a country whose culture is foreign to all asylum seekers.
The aim must be to make their lives here as pleasant as possible. Even though their stay is temporary, every individual needs a sense of security.

Because asylum seekers live very close together in the new centre, confrontations between them are impossible to avoid. As a result, in addition to other important aspects such as safety and management, ‘sharing space’ is a central design theme in enhancing the quality of life. 

The remarkable configuration of blocks creates space of varying scales – meeting the universally accepted value of a smooth transition from private space to a more collective and public domain. People can meet one another in outdoor spaces along the street. A quirky central axis connects the various groups. Collective amenities are located along this axis, among them health care, sports, education and entertainment. Variation and differentiation contribute to the demarcation of the individual’s space within this complex.