The history of Fohnsdorf as a coal mining town serves as the inspirational starting point for the design of the thermal bath. the building is situated as a monolithic block seemingly growing out of the existing topography by analogy with the characteristical form of a coal seam.
Several axes open up the block to the surrounding landmarks like “Schloss Gabelhofen” and the alpine scenery. These “fissures” serve as natural lighting during the day and as illumination during the night. the reduced but deliberate use of openings and vistas intensify the tension and communication between interior and exterior space.
The glazed axes also stage the circulation of the building and divide the block into six distinct areas of activity: athletic pool; children’s area; adventure pool; wellness area and sauna, restaurant, health center
The areas of activity are organized according to their different noise levels from high activity zones to relaxing areas along the main horizontal circulation axis that forms an interior courtyard in the center of the building.
This central atrium introduces natural lighting and green space into the center of the building making the course of the sun and the sequence of seasons tangible in the interior of the thermal bath.
Along the glazed axes the dark cladding of the exterior walls continues into the internal space and reinforces the interconnection between interior and exterior space. in contrast to the dark ceramic tiling of the interior floors the water pools are tiled with light stones that reflect the light and allow a better illumination of the water with luminaries installed inside the pools and on the ceilings.
The third predominant interior material – the timber form work – creates another reference to the mining tradition and allows a seamless transition between walls and ceilings.
The joints of the timber form work improve the acoustics and serve as ventilation slots. the insertions of galleries enhance the differentiated spatial effects and create a multitude of visual relationships between the different levels of the thermal bath.
Location: Fohnsdorf, Austria Architects: Architekten Titus Walter Pernthaler Zt GmbH 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 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 € Year: 2007 Photography: Paul Ott