Rapin Saiz Architectes: Clos Bercher psychosocial care centre - best architects 23 in Gold

Rapin Saiz Architectes

Clos Bercher psychosocial care centre

best architects 23 in Gold

public buildings


Bercher, Switzerland


Joël Tettamanti


The Clos Bercher psychosocial care centre is located on an open flank of the Menthue Valley, close to the remnants of an old evaporated milk factory operating from the 1880s to the 1920s. The new building consists of three longitudinal volumes, slightly shifted in plan and height to blend in with the curves of the dual-slope terrain. The external articulation, the repetition of windows on the long façades as well as the look of the gables topped by chimneys for ventilation recall the site’s industrial past. The positioning of the different volumes on the slope results in a «split-level» organisation. Each section contains part of the collective or administrative spaces as well as a series of rooms corresponding to one living unit. At the intersection of the three volumes, vertical circulation is provided by a double staircase within a gallery, offering diagonal views over the interwoven split levels of the various volumes. The meanderings between bright staircases and corridors, like a Moebius strip of rooms, undoubtedly give the whole a monastic character. In terms of atmosphere, the strong presence of the terracotta used for the brick-like walls and ceilings, which functions as a sound absorber, lends a warm and calming quality to the common areas. Through its typology, its character and its insertion in its setting, the Clos Bercher project suggest a certain idea of anchoring in the community, like a contemporary monastery for the healing of souls in modern times.