In April 2011, Groupe-6 and GD architects were named as winners of the competition to design the
future Riviera-Chablais hospital in Rennaz. The project passed another milestone in October 2013
when planning permission was granted, leading to the start of construction work in 2014.
A hospital uniting two cantons
The future Riviera-Chablais Hospital is located in the commune of Rennaz, strategically located on
the border between the cantons of Vaud and Valais. This inter-cantonal acute care facility features
350 hospital beds, a large technical plateau and out-patient services. Developed for technical and
economic reasons, and to ensure sustainable, high-quality care in the Vaud Riviera and Chablais,
the Riviera-Chablais hospital will replace the two hospitals of Riviera and Chablais and five existing
acute care centres. By grouping acute care on a single site, the new hospital will better respond to the
need for specialization, as well as the increase in chronic diseases and polypathologies related to the
ageing population. It will form the core of a new hospital complex, serving a population of 180,000
when the hospital opens. It will accommodate some 2,000 people.
Care and a broad landscape
Built on three levels, the building fits horizontally into the landscape. Nestling in the valley, it is scaled
in proportion to both the surrounding region and the neighbouring village. Respectful of the area,
it stands directly onto the ground, with no basement level. At its summit, the top floors interact with
the silhouette of the roofs of Rennaz. This compact building unfolds its horizontal lines and radically
daring façades, without competing with the village.
Composed of superimposed strata, the building is made up of three main components :
• The top floor, which houses the accommodation area, is composed of a dark mineral façade which
evokes the rock of the mountains. Shielded from the disturbances of the busy roads, the patient
rooms open out onto internal courtyards. Only the panorama of the mountains is visible. The atmosphere
is protective, it inspires tranquillity and rest. It is a healing environment.
• The first two levels accommodate emergency medical functions, imaging, intensive care, operating
rooms, the out-patients block, etc. The frontage, enveloped in glass, unifies these two levels in an
interaction of reflection and transparency, translating the intensity and the to-and-fro of medical
activity. On the west side, a single vast opening forms the entrance to the hospital.
• Two metal-fronted independent volumes join the volumetry of the first two levels in the same kind
of way, reflective and enveloping. The first, in the foreground of the main façade, corresponds to the
entrance to A&E and provides a direct link with the road. The second, located to the east, combines
the various logistical connections. These volumes, which link the hospital to the outside world, anchor
the building to the ground.
These projected volumes on the first two levels facilitate the building’s overall legibility and help
guide visitors : two main entrances, A&E and out-patients / visitors, are clearly identifiable on the
main facade. Inside, orientation is simple : the majority of the reception terminals are visible from
the entrance, and the flow of visitors and consultants is naturally lit, opening onto the landscape for
An efficient distribution of access flows and the quality of the surroundings supports this readability.
Flows are distributed in three zones : in the north, in-patients, A&E, personnel, and goods ; in the
west, visitors and out-patients ; in the east, logistics. Through its landscaping, the building fits into
a densely wooded area, providing an orientation for the site and creating a transition with the roads.
Highlighting the entrance to the site, the western frontage and its reception areas are fully clear, opening
onto an esplanade which travels between a relaxing terrace and a planted “flowered meadow”
space, which features a water retention pond.
Expandability and flexibility of the hospital
In addition to the superposition of horizontal layers, the Riviera-Chablais hospital also combines
three frames to allow for internal modifications and extensions :
• A medical frame : it structures the medical terminals along a North-South backbone;
• A technical frame : located not in the basement but on the roof, based on a network made up of the
backbone and perpendicular galleries, to allow for easy maintenance and easy development of the
hospital on itself;
• A safety frame : with a balanced distribution of fire escapes throughout the unit, to allow for future
Through its composition and structure, Riviera-Chablais hospital can develop on itself : expandable
and accessible technical framework roofing, structural framework post/flexible beam 7.50 x 7. 50,
substantial ceiling heights, generous traffic areas. The widths of traffic are intentionally very comfortable
(3.75 m on logistical driveways, 3 m for driveway to the surgical unit, 2.40 m minimum in traffic
where beds cross), to anticipate future developments, including transport logistics and healthcare
beds. Its location on the site provides possibilities for extension : a reserve allowing the construction
of 30% more surface is defined to the north of the plot.
The building aims to achieve MINERGIE® certification.
Operation : Acute care facility
Location : Rennaz (VD), Switzerland
Project Owner : Riviera-Chablais Hospital Governing Board, Vaud-Valais
Architects : Groupe-6 architects (Denis Bouvier) / GD architecte (Laurent Geninasca)
Net surface area : 67 000 sq m net floor area
Number of beds : 350
Construction costs : € 180 M excl.VAT / CHF 206 M (2011 value)
Schedule : Architectural design competition: 2011 (winner) ; estimated delivery : 2019
Images : © Groupe-6 + GD architects / image Julien Bruno -Mattiet
Groupe-6, portrait of the office
Founded in 1970 in Grenoble by six architects, Groupe-6 is a collective and transgenerational agency, which brings together ten associate architects in 2017 and a total of 150 employees. Its dynamic is driven by its ability to be interactive, cross-disciplinary, and versatile. Highly experienced at tackling complex projects, its work responds to the major challenges of contemporary society: education, science, workplaces, urban design, mobility, commerce, culture, healthcare, etc. The work of Groupe-6 includes some remarkable achievements, for example the Museum of Fine Arts and the Caserne de Bonne, in Grenoble, the Mechanics and Acoustics Labs (LMA) in Marseilles, and the Stadium of Bordeaux in partnership with Herzog & de Meuron. The firm is currently building hospitals in Strasbourg, and in Rennaz (Switzerland), the Cap 3000 shopping mall in Nice, the Schneider Electric Headquarters in Grenoble, and the JW Marriott Hotel in Bahrain.