EPALINGES – In the west of Switzerland, with a view overlooking Lake Geneva, the Sylvana University Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre (CUTR) has increased its capacity through an extension by local studio 2b architectes.
Originally built in 1913 as a sanatorium for tuberculosis, the building has remained in constant use throughout its 100-year history, although its exact function has ranged from accommodating World War II refugees to providing care for handicapped children taken in by the Red Cross and now facilitate the rehabilitation of post-hospital patients.
The building has undergone various physical transformations too – particularly between 1950–1982 when it was considered inadequate as a healthcare facility – with the roof structure undergoing renovations at various stages. Due to the growing demand for post-hospital rehabilitation beds, 2b architectes has replaced the attic altogether and constructed a functional roof space, made up of two additional floors, which can accommodate 29 patients.
The faceted form of the new volume – prefabricated in timber so as not to interrupt the operation of the hospital - is inspired by the changing heights of the surrounding treeline. Intended to be as inconspicuous as possible amongst the neighbouring vegetation, the structure is clad in a copper-covered bitumen membrane – a liquid coating that can be applied over most roof surfaces – in which the metallic filaments will eventually weather to subtle shades of teal and green to blend in with the hues of the trees.
Its transformation throughout the years