Clinique Sainte Marie
We live in Rodez, the capital of the Aveyron in South-West France. The original town, built on the summit of a steep outcrop, has now spread to a neighbouring hill linked by an elegant viaduct. Our project is built on a steep north-facing site and is composed of a psychiatric clinic with forty bedrooms, a medico-psychological centre and a day hospital, all centred around a shared set of technical services. The total floor area is 3495m² for a cost of 3 800 000€ H.T. The centre has been operational since 2007. The level of the access road at the top of the site has been extended into a vast horizontal slab overhanging the site, leaving space below for a covered parking while also providing a convincing platform for the main construction. The originality of the solution proposed stems from the decision to set the most important part of the project, the forty bedrooms of the clinic, on the uppermost storey overlooking the tree tops, thus liberating the lower levels for a more spacious approach to the planning of the medico-psychological centre, the offices and the technical services on the lower levels. The result is a building full of surprises, where the interplay between the stepped volumes and open spaces creates a delightfully unconventional environment. That was our architectural as well as our therapeutic aim; to reach beyond the geometry of urban normality, to help the mildly depressive patients compose a new vision of the world by confronting them with a reality that is subtly and stimulatingly different.

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