In Still, in the Bruche valley, a structure built to meet the needs of people with mental health disorders
Nature, colors, sounds, silence, and fragrances can all play a role in healing. The green of the Alsace countryside that surrounds Jeanne-Marie House has therefore been brought into the building through large windows, with the delicate, pastel tones of the interiors creating a sense of tranquility for residents. These are a few of the characteristics that best define the most recent project by Dominique Coulon & Associés. Located in the village of Still, in the Bruche Valley, Alsace, the project was designed and built specifically for people with mental health disorders, such as anxiety and aggressive or self-harming behaviors.
Surrounded by trees and the calm of its foothills location, the facility is an excellent example of how architecture is able to respond to the broadest needs of its users. This was made possible by preliminary discussions between the firm and the client, which led to the creation of accommodation, for around thirty people, with a compact, square appearance that’s filled with light thanks to numerous openings and windows. A good example is the base, which is set back from the rest of the building and predominantly glass to create a sense of openness and connection between inside and out, as well as of shared spaces. There are common areas on all the floors, connected to each level’s ten accommodation units.
The goal of creating a living space on a human scale that would meet the needs of its residents can be seen in the focus on nature through the use of windows, whose dimensions reflect the privacy levels appropriate for each area, with larger openings in the common areas and smaller ones in the rooms. Regardless of their size, however, each one is always open so as to frame views of the surrounding countryside. The common terrace areas also have the same function.
The choice of colors was determined by efforts to recreate a natural atmosphere, with delicate, pastel shades a distinctive element of the three floors, including the large wall in the common rooms. The floorplan is the same on each level, but the green, blue, and pink of these long walls defines each floor.
Location: Still, Alsace, France
Architects: Dominique Coulon & associés
Client: ‘Adèle de Glaubitz’ association
Gross floor area: 2,346 sqm
Structure: Batiserf Ingénierie
Electricity and Fire safety system coordinator: BET Gilbert Jost
Fluids: Solares Bauen
Project economist: E3 Économie
Acoustician: Euro Sound Project
Photography by Eugeni Pons, courtesy of Dominique Coulon & associés