Situated within the grounds of the old Swiss abbey of Pfäfers, this geriatic clinic is structured around two peaceful introverted inner courtyards. Such a scheme, echoing that of the old monastery, also allows lowering the height of the bays, with the result that the facility can blend with its surroundings with natural ease.
The project’s most remarkable aspect is not typological, however, but constructional, resting specifically in the large panels – heavy but prefabricated – that comprise the building’s envelope. Completely assembled in the factory, these panels – with lengths reaching 5.5 meters and heights 3.5 – are basically made of pieces of clinker that have been fixed above and below to two frames of exposed reinforced concrete (those cladding the slab edges), rigidified by tensors of stainless steel, which pass through the openings left in the ceramic pieces.
The conditions of the site – located at an altitude of 800 meters and subject to strong frosts – determined the makeup of the clinker bricks, which were specially designed and manufactured for the project and obtained through a sintering process that made the material denser and more resistant as well as less porous, and therefore more capable of resisting, with no loss to its particular properties, the hard winters of Switzerland.
Centro de Geriatría Psiquiátrica Center for Geriatric Psychiatry in Pfäfers (Switzerland).
Cantón de St. Gallen Canton of St. Gallen (Switzerland).
C. Zuercher, D. Ziltener, S. Albrecht, S. Isler, B. Kunert, A. Lörincz, P. Reichenbach, B. Scheid, P. Schild.
Wepf Ingenieure (estructuras structures); Koepfil (paisajismo landscaping); A-Z Planung (calefacción, ventilación y A/C HVAC); Jan Kaeser (artista artist).
Beat Bühler, Kim Zwarts.