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richter architectes & associés, France, clinic

Enveloped: Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic by richter architectes

The psychiatric day clinic in Metz provides outpatient treatment over its 2,200 m². The building was erected for 5.4 million euros in order to unite two institutions devoted to adults and children respectively. However, contact between the two patient groups is to be avoided in the daily routine, which is why there are two, clearly separate lobbies, although the facilities can be used by both groups. Staff can also move back and forth between the two institutions as needed.  

A few office buildings, a freeway and a hypermarket form the neighbourhood of the day clinic. To be sure, this situation is not optimal for an environment intended to develop private space and create a feeling of calm. This is why the Strasbourg architects have designed a building enveloped by a shell of exposed concrete. This shell not only unites the two institutions housed within, it also protects users from undesirable influences. It encompasses the five inner courtyards which allow every treatment room to face a garden full of trees or other greenery.

The clinic is accessed where its shell rises above the ground. The moss-green pigmented concrete was treated by artist Grégoire Hespel directly after the forms were stripped. Using a high-pressure tool, he exposed the composition of the material and even penetrated it completely in some spots. The resulting vivid look forms the visual reference point for clinic users.

In contrast, the actual façade seems nearly technical. Glass and metal juxtapose with the earth tones and shades of green. The reduced material palette inside is limited to light colours and a pink floor that complements the mossy hue. Glazed insets in the partition walls create a purely visual enfilade and let even more light shine in.

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