Site specific: a healthcare centre in France is anchored in local vernacular

Site specific: a healthcare centre in France is anchored in local vernacular

Parisian architecture firm Samuel Delmas has created a vernacularly inspired building that aims to provide good architectural reason and healthcare service to keep people from escaping this predominantly rural part of France. Nozay is a town 26 km southwest from Paris, famous for its blue stone but endemic to a condition happening across Europe - the depopulation of the countryside. 

Sitting on a gently sloping hill, the town’s new healthcare centre has privileged views over Nozay and its traditional gabled roof homes. The architects reinterpreted these and designed a playful roofscape consisting of seven zinc pyramid-like wells that diffuse soft light into the offices and consultation rooms below, as well as providing natural ventilation.

The environmental approach continues in the building’s outer skin: grey vertical zinc fins function as sun shading devices, while providing a natural yet modern aesthetic to the building. The facade is punctuated by large double height aluminium openings, or loggias, strategically positioned in order to frame views from interior spaces. 

The dark envelope - referencing the local blue stone - contrasts with white interiors, inspiring a clean and healthy environment. Healthcare, administration and visitor spaces are arranged around two interior courtyards that serve as way-finding tools on both levels. These enhance the spaces with natural light and a closer relation with nature, an atmosphere favourable to healing and positive thinking. 

The parking lot is located on the lower level of the building, partly sunken into the landscape and clad in blue stone - as if to ground the building further into the local vernacular. The architects carefully sculpted the surrounding terrain into a natural public space by introducing plants, trees, and stone-paved walking paths.

Delmas’ project perfectly blends in to the town’s skyline and firmly anchors itself to the landscape. Nozéens have a reason to gloat at their town’s welcome latest architectural addition. 

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