The new retirement home in Wittstock in the state of Brandenburg centres on a flexible care concept. Acoustic elements by AOS not only deliver a high level of comfort and good working conditions in the dining area, but also double up as interesting design highlights. The new StellaMed retirement home was realized in Wittstock/Dosse, a town of 15,000 residents in northwest Brandenburg, in 2017. The project was initiated by Managing Director of StellaMed GmbH Silvia Teschner, whose company was already dedicated to supporting people in need of care. The new build was constructed on the back of surveys and analyses that revealed the great need in the region for assisted living. In general many of the respondents expressed a desire to live as independently as possible, but with the fallback option of 24-hour care. “Given that there was nothing like that here before, the obvious solution was to build such a home,” says Silvia Teschner. Moreover, the new building meant that day care facilities and the base station for home nursing services could be combined in one and the same place. The location chosen was a meadow behind a residence. Emergency services, a hospital and a supermarket are within reach. Upon completion in early 2017 around 4,300 square metres provided space for day care and home care stations and residential groups for care-dependent persons. The new residential community for senior citizens forms the core of the project: a flat building of 734 square metres offering space for two housing groups each with eleven residents.
The kitchen and lounge areas are located in the somewhat taller central section. Rooms for day care and home care are located in another building. Soon after the complex went operational in early 2017 it became clear that the acoustic conditions in the kitchen and dining room were problematic. Staff complained about particularly loud noises such as rattling cutlery, which caused stress and added extra strain to the already taxing day-to-day work. AOS then took acoustic measurements in the two rooms arranged back to back in the elevated central section. It transpired that for some frequencies the reverberation time in these rooms was up to three seconds. This was attributable to two factors: firstly the ceilings, which are up to seven metres high, and secondly the strongly sound-reflecting surfaces, such as the hard walls and laminate floors in the dining areas. The developer set out various aesthetic stipulations in terms of installing acoustic elements. For instance, all elements were to be installed as high up in the space as possible, above an imaginary line running above the doorframes. The joint decision was made to install 3D absorbers in the corners of the polygonal space – with grey and white elements alternating. The same colour combination was to be employed for the acoustic cylinders. Measuring 800mm long and 250mm in diameter, the cylinders were grouped into three sets of five, with four white cylinders encircling a grey cylinder in the middle. These were hung from the ceiling above the luminaires. Acoustic cylinders are particularly appropriate precisely for a high airy space such as that in Wittstock, because they absorb sound from many directions. Acoustic improvements were already noticeable during the modification work, which only took one day. And now that some time has passed, everyone involved is content with the results – from both an aesthetic and an acoustic viewpoint.