Project Name: Banja Vrućica SPA
Firm Location: Slovenia
Completion year: Unbuilt
Gross Built up Area: 6040 sqm
Project Location: Banja Vrućica
Lead Architects: ENOTA
Design Team: Dean Lah, Milan Tomac, Jakob Kajzer, Peter Sovinc, Eva Tomac, Nuša Završnik Šilec, Urška Malič, Sara Ambruš, Carlos Cuenca Solana, Goran Djokić
Clients: ZTC “BANJA VRUĆICA” ad
Collaborators: Spacer (visualizations)
Excerpt: Banja Vrućica SPA designed by architectural firm ENOTA is an extension done in Hotel Kardial. The extension and overhaul of the bathing and wellness sections of the hotel to accomodare the change in the guests’ habits and requirements.
(“Text as submitted by the Architects”)
Banja Vrućica is a destination with a long and successful tradition of medical tourism. However, to accommodate the change in the guests’ habits and requirements, there has lately been a clear tendency to develop wellness and congress tourism, which is most evident in the health resort’s flagship, Hotel Kardial. The extension and overhaul of the bathing and wellness sections of the hotel is thus a logical next step in the complex’s gradual transformation in this direction.
Hotel Kardial has recently undergone extensive refurbishment. The overhaul reduced the size of the balconies to enlarge the hotel rooms. Other rooms were added to the building’s roof. All the accompanying programs were overhauled, namely the congress halls and the wellness facility, which comprises the interior and exterior pool, sauna, and massage parlors. The final addition was an external pool platform with accompanying service spaces at the outside-guest entrance. The subsequent use of the refurbished building revealed that the interior pool section was too small and somewhat inconveniently placed above the exterior pool platform. This resulted in the sauna and massage parlors being located on the lower floor, which is to the detriment of optimal organization of the spaces and service. The spaces in question also exhibit several technical issues stemming from the refurbishment. From the investment standpoint, it makes the most sense for these spaces to be removed and replaced with new ones, eliminating the current shortcomings, subject to appropriate planning. Notwithstanding removing the enclosed spaces, all the exterior spatial layout, ie, the exterior pool and the service entrance facility, is to be retained.
The visual design of the retained spaces is markedly organic, based on circular strokes. To achieve a homogenous final visual expression of the complex, this approach is applied as the starting point for further designing the envisaged buildings and exterior layout. Therefore, the planned interventions make no design distinction between the building and the exterior layout: all are to employ the same materials and design principles. This enables the congruity of the entire layout below the hotel entrance level with no alterations to the hotel above this grade.
One of the renovation’s key goals is to make the waterside of stream Jelića part of the exterior functional surfaces to provide a welcome content enhancement utilizing the water element. At the same time, the inclusion of this surface allows for future expansion of wellness programs on available plots on the other side of the stream. The uniform treatment of the space from the stream to the hotel’s ground level, which also encompasses the first two storeys of the public programme, and the covering of the new pool section, perceptually diminishes the hotel building from seven to five floors. Using the ground level, the new terraced structure of the layout with overhanging roofing further reduces the appearance of the existing building. It brings the entire layout closer to the human scale. The individual terraces of the exterior layout and the roofs of the new buildings feature ample greenery, certainly a welcome characteristic of an environment where well-being is foremost dependent on nature. On the other hand, the green roofs bridge the gap to the ground level for room users as the view across the roofs continues unbroken to the ground floor layout and further afield to the natural landscape on the other side of the stream.
The new appended spaces are accessible through the new reception area, connecting to the existing underground corridor and the outside-guest entrance. Additionally, Hotel Kardial guests can take advantage of the direct access to the wellness program and the swimming pool locker room, which also serves as the gateway to the new sauna parlors. The swimming pool hall is divided into two different sections. The larger of the two is intended for families and connects to the existing external pool on the same level. Additional relevant surfaces are placed on the gallery floor above the pool. The smaller section is located above the pool on the primary – gallery level, where the saunas and associated programs are also found. This part of the facility boasts different exterior surfaces and is intended for more demanding guests.
The fundamental guideline for designing the new building’s interior was to produce a sensation of constant connection to the external, natural landscape. The main load-bearing structure of the individual roof elements has thus been shifted into the building’s interior. The perimeter glass facade, which still features a secondary load-bearing structure, contiguously envelops the building and ensures uninterrupted contact with the surrounding landscape. In spring and autumn, temperature-permitting, the entire glass perimeter may be opened to provide an even better connection between the interior and the exterior. The new swimming pool building’s volume is divided into several smaller roof segments whose respective levels separate them from one another. Yet, they are still linked in an unified structural system. The elevation shifts also enable clerestory lighting deeper in the space’s interior. The interior ceiling is additionally clad with a suspended timber structure which conceals all the necessary installations and lighting. The organic, undulating ceiling pattern reflects the fundamental desire for the highest degree of connection with nature. At the same time, the wood offers a sensation of warmth in this very bright and open relaxation space.
Read More: Architecture | hospitality | Continental Architecture | Enota | Unbuit | Banja Vrućica | Bosnia and Herzegovina