The new La Corbière health center is set in typical Swiss countryside. Together with the Château de la Corbière and its church, it forms a complex integrated into its farmland setting, overlooking Lake Neuchâtel. Because of its low height, the therapy center respects both the existing buildings and the landscape, while opening wide towards the lake and the Jura Mountains. The new building connects with an existing medical center, forming a single articulated whole that initiates a dialogue with its setting. The architecture and surrounding landscape intermesh in the folds of the building, seeking a balance. An interplay of privacy and openness to the landscape is the central concept of this complex project with its organic forms.
The wings of the building define three courtyards, each one central to the life of the center. The entrance courtyard is a curving paved area that connects with the main street and guides visitors towards the entrance. Large stone surfaces give it a distinctive appearance. With its glazed walls, a cafeteria takes full advantage of its southwest-facing aspect, offering glimpses of the building’s depth and complexity, as well as a view of the château’s orchard. With its distinctive sloping stone paving, the courtyard dubbed A View of the Fields overlooks peaceful farmland to the east while providing access and natural light to the spa area, located in the basement. Lakeside Garden is a tree-lined courtyard that extends outwards from the ground floor towards the lake. Framed by the wings of the building, this garden is the heart of the center. Its perfumed plants release their scents to the rooms that overlook it.
Public areas are located on the ground floor, namely a restaurant, reception, library, and a lounge, all arranged around a sculptural spiral staircase. The floor rises and falls with the natural slope of the land, eventually leading down to the wellness center below ground level. The two west wings, which overlook the lake, house the center’s 41 guest rooms at first floor level. A meeting room is situated at basement level, below the restaurant, with direct access to the ground floor and library.
Curving timber sunscreens envelop the new building, joining the existing structure and its new extension together in a unified whole. Balconies behind the timber screens offer residents both a feeling of privacy and a sense of connection with the surrounding landscape.
On the ground floor in the east wing is a swimming pool, set beneath an arching exposed concrete ceiling, which opens onto the surrounding landscape. Its appearance suggests some kind of sacred cavern, a place that offers deep healing and renewal.
Project architect: Localarchitecture
Laurent Saurer, Manuel Bieler, Antoine Robert-Grandpierre,
Livia Esposito, Andrew Hugonnet, Giulia Altarelli
Construction management: Pragma Partenaires SA
Structural engineering: Thomas Jundt ingénieurs civils SAEnergy engineering Weinmann-Energie SA
Electrical engineering: Perrin & Spaeth SA
Location: La Corbière 6, 1470 Estavayer-le-Lac, Suisse
Footprint area: 5.680 m²
Volume: 17.044 m³
Photographs: Matthieu Gafsou, courtesy Localarchitecture
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