La Corbière . Estavayer-le-Lac

LOCALARCHITECTURE . La Corbière . Estavayer-le-Lac afasia Matthieu Gafsou (1)

LOCALARCHITECTURE . photos: © Matthieu Gafsou

This new healthcare centre is located in a distinctive landscape. Along with Château de la Corbière and its church it forms a new ensemble integrated within an agricultural estate overlooking Lake Neuchâtel. With its low-level volumes it respects the existing buildings and topography, opening out generously towards the lake and the Jura Mountains. The new building connects with the existing medical centre, combining with it to form a single articulated whole that engages in a dialogue with its environment. The architecture and the surrounding landscape intermesh in the folds of the building’s form, seeking balance. An interplay of privacy and openness to the landscape lies at the heart of this complex and organic architecture.



The building is shaped in branches which define three open patios central to the life of this healthcare centre. The entrance courtyard – this curved patio links with the main avenue, guiding visitors to the centre. Stone surfaces give the entrance to the estate its distinctive look. A cafeteria with glazed façades makes the most of the south-west-facing aspect, offering glimpses into the depth and complexity of the building as well as a view of the chateau orchard.
A view over fields – this sloping stone patio opens towards tranquil farmland scenery to the east, connecting with – and bringing daylight into – the spa area located on the lower ground level.
Lakeside garden – a patio with trees extends directly out from ground floor level, opening towards the lake. This
garden framed by the wings of the building is its heart, its aromatic plants releasing their fragrances into the centre and up to the guest rooms overlooking it.


The ground floor accommodates the public areas: the restaurant, reception, library and lounge, arranged around a sculptural spiral staircase. The floor at ground level adapts to the sloping topography of the terrain, using the incline to open up a semi-basement space that houses the wellbeing centre, accessed by a gentle slope. The two west wings overlooking the lake house the centre’s 41 guest rooms on the upper floor. A meeting room is sited on the lower ground level, below the restaurant, connecting directly with the ground floor and the library.


A roundwood timber screen freely encases the whole of the new architectural composition, linking the
pre-existing building with its new extension to form a unified whole. With its curved, free-flowing contours and openwork effect, this wooden screen is part of the life of the building, ornamenting its internal spaces. Balconies set back behind the screen offer residents a feeling of pri- vacy and seclusion. At ground level in the east wing is the swimming pool, set beneath an arched ceiling of exposed concrete and opening onto vistas of surrounding farmland. The ceiling surface is textured with the imprint of wooden boards. This feels like a sacred cavern – a place that offers deep replenishment and renewal.

Project architect
Laurent Saurer
Manuel Bieler
Antoine Robert-Grandpierre
Livia Esposito
Andrew Hugonnet
Giulia Altarelli

La Corbière 6, 1470 Estavayer-le-Lac, Suisse