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Location: Podčetrtek, Slovenia
Area: 7.140 m2
Project Team: Dean Lah, Milan Tomac, Anže Zalaznik, Petra Ostanek, Tinka Prekovič, Grega Tramte
Photographs: Miran Kambič
Wellness Centre Termalija is designed as an extension of the existing spa at Terme Olimia in Podčetrtek. Growth of the accommodation capacities of the thermal complex has led to the need to increase the space around the spa’s pool area. At the same time, the investor wanted to build a new modern sauna center and before all establish a covered link between closed and opened parts of the spa, which is also covered during the winter.
Space intended for extension was very limited. Any intervention in the pool area would immensely impair the quality of space in the summer, when it is very important that the pools have many well-regulated open areas. Therefore, we found room for expansion in a narrow zone alongside the access road which winds around the existing building. New building is distinctively separated from the old one and is somehow embracing it. From the access road side it is forming a completely new facade of the spa while seen from the inside of the thermal complex it is almost invisible and does not alter the character of space.
Extension of the Wellness Centre Termalija is designed as a sequence of different theme areas that address visitors through their own experience gained from the world of nature. Animation of numerous visitors’ senses in creating a unique experience was a guideline for designing the spaces. Spaces are of different colors and decorated with stylized graphic drawings derived from nature (vision), ambience music and tones taken from the nature differ from space to space (hearing) and the ventilation system is additionally equipped with a system that emanates aroma, which also alters from space to space (smell).
Since the building, due to its size, significantly stands out in the surrounding, predominantly rural architecture, it is designed in a very reserved manner. The building appears almost as a fence that protects the spa complex space from a gaze from the road in front of it. Although the new facility occupies an area adjacent to the road and does not take any quality space from the pool area, the roof is planted with greenery and is available for public access. In this way, the newly acquired area compensates a part of the ground terrain that was taken away and offers completely new and different experience of the space. The green roof is folded and it seems to, due to the fusion of the planted areas, naturally continue into the surrounding landscape.
If the building functions reserved during the day, it shows a completely different face at night when the rural environment is no longer present. Illuminated interior then flares up in all the “colors of nature.” Due to its colorful interior, the facility looks as ‘a billboard’. A billboard that invites passers-by to step inside and to the guests of the spa complex indicates the target of their trip.