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Vertical Spa

Location: Schierke, Germany

Program: Public Space, Public Building, Urban Design, Research, Design by research

Client: Municipality of Schierke together with TU Delft 


Year: 2013

Status: Research, concept and idea design

Design: Cecilia Dobos 

Exhibited work in Sachsen-Anhalt Zentrum, Berlin, Germany


Research Team: 

Our design proposal addressed to create a spa or a wellness center that will regenerate Schierke, a small dead end town in the middle of the Harz Mountains in Germany, once used to be a vibrant village but now struggling with population decay and unemployment.
The nature in and around the town is very impressive and dominant. The “verticality’ of the pine trees inhabiting the entire landscape, the gorgeous view above tree levels was the main inspiration for this project. These characteristics of the site arose the idea to create a narrow 'water tower' like spa that leads the visitor above the tree levels to open up the view to the magnificent landscape.

The tower intents to blend into the landscape and be part of it. To create a vertical structure for the spa the construction of a water towers were taken as examples and become the main structural design. This water tower construction concept allowed to create a bowl like structure for the pools and to allowed to ‘free’ the facade and frame the view towards nature. 

The program of the spa is based on Turkish baths as a ritual bathing and therefore composed of three main parts. The lower levels host the Turkish tea house open to the public all times. These levels are an important starting point of the bathing ritual. Middle part of the tower is the reception, changing rooms, followed by hot dry rooms to prepare the body for the hot water pools. The water ritual is a progression through circulation along the outer perimeter of the spa with views to the nature and connecting the visitor to the landscape. The view of the surrounding gradually changes as the visitor walk through the different pools higher in the tower. The opening on the facade are intentionally frames the visitors view and constantly reveals new perspectives of the landscape during the bathing ritual.

The final design proposal was selected for an exhibition in Berlin, published in a Sachsen-Anhalt magazine and discussed at a round table forum as a possible pivot hinge proposal in the life of Schierke, Germany. 

design concept diagrams
Research (group)
spa program diagram
circulation diagram
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Walking through the pools along the facade: The periphery of the building's interior designated to the variety of pools. The circulation upward to the viewing pool takes place through the variety of pools to create an enhanced experience of bathing in the nature, among the trees.  

building sections, Facade 
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Viewing pool at top level of trees: The viewing pool is the last stop of the bathing ceremony with the pool temperature most pleasant to stay in for long period of time. It opens up a 360 degree view to the surrounding nature.  

floor plans

Floor plans of the different levels: Freeing up the facade from structure allows space for pools with view to nature and circulation along and through the varied pools and facade.

vertical spa_site plan 1000 model photo_

Location: Vertical Spa of Schierke is located in one of the bend of the natural, crystal clear stream within the majestic landscape of pine forest.

model in render.jpg

Vertical Spa: Each level of the spa reveal a different view of the forest as you go up or down along the facade. 

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