The Waldhaus Psychiatric Clinic, Chur, Switzerland

New Points of View

Client: Hochbauamt des Kanton Graubünden
Architecture: Neubauten: F. Censi & F. Chiaverio
Period: 1991 – 1996
Surface area: 15 000m2

In the 19th century, the Waldhaus Psychiatric Clinic was built on a site that had a chequered history: once upon a time it had been a talus cone, later a forest and then a field and pasture. The mighty, axially organized “Gründerzeit” architecture of the main house goes back to a type of house and garden adapted from a style prevalent in Germany – though there it had been developed for a flat site. This site therefore required digging out part of the mountain side and heaping up soil on the valley side. From this point in time, with its miniaturized, small-lot landscaped garden, the exquisite stock of trees survived.

The redesign of the entire park leads, in the sense of a new definition and interpretation of psychiatry, to an opening up of the park. The roofed passage-ways are demolished, the small-lot organization dissolved in favour of a much more generous park, and a new generation of trees is planted. This new development and access by arched paths through the park allows a generous experience of space and signals the opening of the entire facility. The park is now balanced by newly added courtyard spaces surrounding the patients’ houses, that are designed much like residential gardens.

* Project by Kienast Vogt Partner