Located in Styria, Austria the Aqualux Therme Fohnsdorf is a thermal spa which’s shape was inspired by the place’s mining tradition and its topography, fact which led to a striking yet modern architectural design.
The form of the building, resembling a coal seam, is apparently a very random sci-fi design. However, there are several axes that organize it, give it meaning and help differentiate between the various areas. Another idea that stood at the base of the design was the amount of openings allowing a permanent dialog between the outer and the inner space. Located in Austria, the site abounds with alpine sceneries which are turned to account by these cracks in the exterior shel,l intensifying the relationship between the two separated spaces.
The truly welcoming interior is divided into six different areas: the athletic pool, children’s area, adventure pool, wellness area and sauna, restaurant and the health center. This organisation is dictated by the arrangement of the openings and by the different noise levels; along the main symmetry axis, the highest activity area is located on one end while the most relaxing was placed on the other end, creating a succession in the buildings functions. Between the two far ends of the building, in its center, an interior courtyard can be found which not only provides the necessary lighting but also accentuates the relationship between the inner and the outer space by establishing a connection between the course of the sun and so, with time and weather conditions and the inhabitants of the thermal bath.
The exterior dark cladding continues on the inside as well, reinforcing the interconnection between the two separate spaces. In contrast with this material, the water pools are tiled with light stones that allow a better illumination by reflecting light. The third predominant interior material, the timber form work, creates another reference to the mining tradition and allows a seamless transition between the walls and ceilings which are in a very powerful contrast.
The key to this projects success is of course comfort, providing entertainment for any client and a striking interior to impress its customers. I believe that the architects have achieved this goals especially with the interior design where contrast and carefully assorted colors and materials provide its visitors with a truly welcoming space.
Architects: Architekten Titus Walter Pernthaler ZT GmbH
Project: Aqualux Therme Fohnsdorf
Location: Thermenallee 10; 8753 Fohnsdorf, Styria, Austria
Photography: Paul Ott
Lighting Design: Vedder Lichtmanagement
Structural engineering: Spirk & Partner ZT GmbH
HVAC engineering | water engineering: Die Haustechniker TB GmbH
Building physics | acoustics: Dr. Pfeiler GmbH
Landscape design: Monsberger Gartenarchitektur
Catering technology: PlanQuadrat Ingenieurbüro
Site area: 36.478 m2
Construction area: 4.020 m2
Gross floor area: 9.060 m2
Net area: 7.710 m2
Water areas: 885 m2
Construction costs: 21,5 Million €
Planning period: Competition December 2004; February 2005 – September 2007
Construction period: October 2006 – December 2007