MAK architecture: CAD Orbe - best architects 23

MAK architecture

CAD Orbe

best architects 23

infrastructure buildings


Orbe, Switzerland



Rasmus Norlander


The district heating plant is located in a residential area on the outskirts of the city of Orbe, close to a school and Montchoisi Manor. Therefore, the main challenge of the project was to create a technical building capable of fitting into a complex urban environment, in almost direct coexistence. The design of the heating plant was inspired by the historical roof of the manor. The chimney is treated as a sculptural rather than an additive element, unifying the volume and creating a large four-sided roof. This expressive roof gives the plant a domestic character while at the same time lending it a distinctive identity. The spruce-clad façade harmonises with the dark aluminium sheets covering the cone-shaped roof. On the interior, a support system of glulam timber enabled the required pillar-free space. By using naturally treated wood with a base of exposed concrete, the project focuses on a combination of natural materials and their raw qualities. The large window in the façade communicates the life going on inside and brings in vital daylight. It also reinforces the educational aspect of the project by enabling a dialogue, as renewable energy becomes a visible part of daily life. The new heating plant drew inspiration from this duality between technical and contextual constraints, resulting in a building that balances functionality and a sculptural presence.