Natural Park Serra da Estrela, Portugal
ARK X SITE
1200 m² SDP
The proposal aims to develop an interaction and a fusion between the landscape and the baths in order to offer a unique experience, providing powerful architectural elements. The project announces its presence like a monolith. Its geometry and its formal simplicity are in contrast with the topography of the soil on which the building is set. It stands in the landscape as a landmark.
A monolith can be a monument to itself - a statue, a monolithic stone. We find sacred monolithic stones from the Prehistory - menhirs - and in many civilisations, such as the Mayan civilisation - steles - representing sovereigns or the - zoomorphic - originals of Quirigua - and Aztec - the monolith of Coatlicue which represents the goddess of the death, or the decorated monolith of Tizoc representing the fifteen victories of this sovereign.
The first buildings made of monoliths are the dolmens, from the fifth millennium. A monolith can also constitute an architectural element of a building composed of a single element - column or lintel. A reinforced concrete building may be considered a monolith (as opposed to a brick or concrete block wall).Its geometry and its formal simplicity are in contrast with the topography of the soil on which the building is set. It stands in the landscape as a landmark. The project is designated to an existing horizontal ground that rests on the slope. Anchored to the ground, the building tries to minimise its impact in the existing stone landscape. The ground floor rises so that the visitor can enter the building. The thickness of walls affirms the inner/outer limit and envelops the visitor in a cubic volumetry.
By entering, the visitor can feel the mass above him that marks the limits of the large outdoor pool. This pool is surrounded by small regular closed spaces for which intimacy is sought. Breakthroughs on the landscape are put in place to create contrasts between enclosed spaces, such as the sauna, massage areas, rooms and spaces for wandering, walking, relaxing and solarium.The project reveals the landscape through a combination of interior and exterior spaces, sequences, and the evocative and strong character of the site. The building evokes a fractured rock in which water infiltrates and forms natural swimming pools.