Richter architectes et associés - Psychiatric health center, Metz, France
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Psychiatric health center, Metz, France

Richter architectes et associés

Health  /  Completed
Richter architectes et associés
The project is a center of consultations and care (mental health) for adults and children.

The subject is to include on the same site four entities of care for children and adults, and to optimize the organization of the staff, the legibility and the accessibility of the care for the public.

The children and the adult services include each one spaces of consultation, offices, reception, activities and restoration for the children.

Although both services mutualize the technical equipments and the staff spaces, it was asked to avoid as much as possible the eyes and physical contacts between children and adults.

In a sub-urban landscape, lacking of marks, the project tries to solve what could appear as a contradiction: offer an opening on the city while protecting the intimacy, interact with the landscape while protecting the individual. This leitmotiv of the office Richter architects, takes here a singular importance, since the center intended for the psychiatric care addresses a fragile public in felt often aggravated.
A unique and protective shell develops in a almost organic way, embraces patios and small courtyards, contrasted spaces in the intimate scale. So, the internal spaces can open widely on the outside, through a technical, metallic and glazed facade, among which the sharp drawing and the anodized finish contrast with the materiality of the concrete, pigmented of green, which seems to emerge from the earth and to merge in the wood.

The concrete is submitted to an archaic treatment, far from any search of abstraction. The artist Grégoire Hespel, whose paintings confer on skies and landscapes a mineral materiality, was chosen to model this shell, which represents the sustainability of the work. Discovering the composition of the concrete, he chose to reveal its nature, its aggregates, on-surface or in-depth, making it rough.

In front of square, the shell lifts up itself to treat carefully entrances different from children and adults services, who develop on two levels.
The voids arranged between the shell and the facades offer a diversity of orientations and views, close and distant, slowed down by the internal games of transparencies. It is as well by this voids, densely planted, that the spaces of the children are put at a distance by those of the adults and of the nursing staff, while creating a central mark place on the scale of the set.

The internal atmosphere is strongly marked by the opening on the outside and the contact of the nature elements.

The wood and the ground in pink resin join complementarity, and participate in a bright, soft, cosy atmosphere, convenient to the care.

The rigorous choices for the materiality is reduced to the minimum, without other addition of color, strengthen spatial continuity, which allows the residents to appropriate places and to move there uninhibitedly.


 Jury Hospital center
 2200 mq
 Richter architectes et associés
 Grégoire Hespel artist, CTE structure, Solares Bauen fluids, Bet Gilbert Jost électricity, C2bi economy, scheduling, overseeing and coordination, Bruno Kubler landscaper
 © Luc Boegly © Julian Perez


The Richter Architectes & Associés projects are influenced by the mixing of French and German cultures. Sister and brother, Pascale and Jan Richter were both raised in Germany, where architectural modernity is a natural landscape. In their achievements, the relationship with nature is expressed by a built volume having its autonomy, its opacity, thus allowing nature to express itself instead of domesticating or engulfing it. Likewise, they always try to create a thickness between exterior and interior, not a barrier, but a transition that invites and protects. In France, soon joined by Anne-Laure Better, they perceived the poetic dimension that space could provide, which is revealed by the variations of natural light, the visual transparencies from one room to another, a framing on the city. By realizing health buildings, like psychiatric institutions for children, they learned the quality of use, the meaning and effects of space for users feeling everything stronger than anybody else.

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