Medical Center, Appenzell (CH)

Initiated by two doctors, a center was built on a plot northwest of the town center in Appenzell, unifying various health services and four apartments under one roof. Despite its large volume comprising almost 11,000 cubic meters, the center built according to the strict Swiss Minergie standard diffidently blends with its environs dominated by freestanding agricultural buildings, residences, and commercial buildings. This is partly the result of its compact, nearly square layout as well as the horizontal division in semi-basement, main floor, and loft. The combination of elements that hark back to the regional building culture and a clear architectural style, with unrefined surfaces that reveal their material origins and are precisely joined, proved to harmoniously balance practicality with restrained elegance.
The choice of materials for the various areas helped to create tastefully choreographed spaces. While exposed concrete and glass, materials that are hard in feel and appearance, communicate restrained practicality along the access paths, the amount of wood increases with the degree of intimacy. In the central lobby and waiting area, a light gray floor reflects the incoming daylight. Two inserted loggias, which are shielded from prying views by wooden slats much like the rows of windows fronting the doctors’ practices, can be used as lounge areas by staff and patients. The building pays homage to local building traditions with dimensions adapted to the environment, its layout and architectural details such as the structure of the untreated larch wood façade.

Client: Aedificium Appenzell AG
Location: CH-9050 Appenzell, Sandgrube 27
Architecture: Dietrich | Untertrifaller | Stäheli
Project management: Thomas Mitterer-Kuhn
Construction: 2013-2014
Area: 1,750 m²
Ecology: Minergie-Standard
Capacity: health services, 4 apartments

structural engineering: Wälli, Herisau / HAVCR: Ökoplan, Gossau / electronics: Marquart, Altstätten / building physics: Studer-Stauss, St Gallen /// photos: © Bruno Klomfar