Wolff Obrist architectes: La Sylvabelle Psychiatric Nursing Home - best architects 23

Wolff Obrist architectes

La Sylvabelle Psychiatric Nursing Home

best architects 23

public buildings


Waadt, Switzerland




Cécile Monnier


The La Sylvabelle Psychiatric Nursing Home occupies a valley hollow near the village of Provence in the Swiss canton of Waadt, on the site of an old boarding house that replaced a mill. The project is part of a continuous history of successive demolitions and reconstructions that have characterised this place since the Middle Ages. The new building takes up the layout and size of the existing one, which it extends to the south, bending to fit the topography of the site. It thus follows the curve of the access road and preserves the esplanade open to the east. The upper floors house the bedrooms while the ground floor contains offices and communal areas, on the same level as the esplanade. The central corridor follows the bends of the floor plan, expanding toward the façade to form an entrance hall, dining room, living rooms and stairwells. The only vertical feature of the project, the main triangular staircase, takes on a majestic and symbolic dimension at the heart of the building. The architectural treatment and materi­ality of the building seek analogies with the rural structures of the region – as reflected by elements such as the base, flat tiles, eaves, plastered masonry, modest openings and window frames. What differs is the treatment of details and the integration of contemporary construction components.