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Award-winning architect Peter Zumthor has delievered the project of spa and hotel built over the only thermal springs in the Graubunden Canton in Switzerland. Dubbed the Therme Vals, the architecture combines a complete sensory experience and offer a form of cave or quarry like structure.
The Therme Vals is built from layer upon layer of locally quarried Valser Quarzite slabs. This stone became the driving inspiration for the design, and is used with great dignity and respect.
This space was designed for visitors to luxuriate and rediscover the ancient benefits of bathing. The combinations of light and shade, open and enclosed spaces and linear elements make for a highly sensuous and restorative experience. The underlying informal layout of the internal space is a carefully modelled path of circulation which leads bathers to certain predetermined points but lets them explore other areas for themselves.
The perspective is always controlled. It either ensures or denies a view. The fascination for the mystic qualities of a world of stone within the mountain, for darkness and light, for light reflections on the water or in the steam saturated air, pleasure in the unique acoustics of the bubbling water in a world of stone, a feeling of warm stones and naked skin, the ritual of bathing – these notions guided the architect.
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