best architects 23
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.