Ronald McDonald Huis,Groningen. The new Ronald McDonald Huis has been built right behind the UMCG on H.A. Kooijkerplein in Groningen. Parents, brothers and sisters of children receiving treatment at the Beatrix Kinderziekenhuis can stay here. The part of the UMCG’s former convent that Stichting Ronald McDonald Huis used to hire for many years and that functioned as the accommodation centre for parents of children who were ill, was no longer satisfactory. Security and privacy were lacking. De Zwarte Hond designed the new Ronald McDonald Huis in the middle of the Oosterpark residential area that provides sufficient space for both.
At home in the community
The Ronald McDonald Huis comprises 24 guest rooms, a number of living rooms, one large communal kitchen, a library, utility room and offices for the management and the volunteers. What makes the design so unique is that, despite the scale and the various functions that it accommodates, it is a real home with a safe, playful atmosphere. The design of the house is very clear. And, like the housing in the street, it forms part of the street. Because of the choice of colours and materials and the furniture, also chosen by De Zwarte Hond, the guest rooms and the living rooms in the house are both welcoming and practical.
The basement car park is situated in the cellar. This means that the house stands on a plinth and from indoors this provides a fine view of the street – Gorechtkade, the green zone with the Singel, and the surrounding houses with their back gardens. Guests enter the Ronald McDonald Huis via the entrance and the spacious hall with adjacent office space. This brings them to the staircase and, if they carry on, to the atrium that provides the communal side of the house with light. This southern side has large expanses of glass to facilitate as much light and space in the house as possible. The many vistas and views create a natural connection with the residential world around the house. The communal areas such as kitchens and dining rooms, living rooms and quiet areas are designed on the southern side. The offices and utility room are on the ground floor on the northern side, with the guest rooms on the upper floors. Because the collective and private space is so clearly separated in the floor plan, guests quickly find their way around and soon feel at home.
Communal and private
Guests can opt to socialise with the other guests or just as easily retire to the privacy of their own rooms. Members of the family and children find peace and quiet in the guestrooms and do as they choose. The rooms have their own bathroom with a shower and toilet, a wardrobe, a table and chairs and a workplace where, for example, they can use the Internet. The walls next to the beds have notice boards for guests to pin up photographs. There is a large playroom and roof terrace, accessed via folding doors. Guests have a view of the Beatrix Kinderziekenhuis from here. So the family is really close by.
The Ronald McDonald Huis on the corner of Kooijkerplein and Gorechtkade is situated opposite a new apartment building in the same style, also designed by De Zwarte Hond. Nijestee is the client. The two buildings lie like two sphinxes on the corners of Gorechtkade and Kooijkerplein. They form a strongly-individual end-point to the continuous street façade and, with their brick exterior and stepped frontage, fit in well with their surroundings. An invisible axis connects the area with the city. If you look past the Ronald McDonald Huis and the Nijestee apartment building you can see the Martinitoren in the distance. This Ronald McDonald Huis in Groninigen is a welcoming, hospitable place to stay.