A temple of contrasts

Spa pavilion in Austria becomes a monolithic labyrinth


“A private spa temple for the 21st century” – that is the phrase used by architects’ bureau smartvoll to refer to the spa pavilion they have built in Austria. Both weighty and airy at the same time, the structure is an impressive amalgam of contrasting ideas that always has something new to discover.

An homage to the Greek and Roman temples of old? Or perhaps to the imposing pillars of Stonehenge? The truth is even stranger: in fact, this collection of seemingly free-standing, monolithic slabs interwoven in a labyrinthine configuration is the custom-built spa retreat of one homeowner in Austria. Shower, sauna, whirlpool, steam bath, bar, pool – each wall and passage conceals a gateway to something new, and every corner holds something to discover. 

The dark stone walls of weather-resistant quartzite are arranged to prevent those outside the pavilion from looking in, yet it still remains open on three sides. In spite of the thick walls, it retains an airy feel, particularly in the warm summer months. There is practically no threshold at all between the inside of the retreat and the surrounding outdoors – the pavilion and its natural habitat blend together seamlessly. 

Filigree glazing

Making sure this feeling was retained all year round was an important consideration for smartvoll – which is why they placed their trust in Solarlux’s cero glazing. The fixed elements were complemented by a number of sliding windows, and cero’s outstanding insulation properties allow the owner to enjoy pleasant temperatures in his various different spa areas even in the depths of winter. At the same time, its extremely slender profiles and filigree glazing ensure that it doesn’t spoil the ambience of the pavilion.

The interplay of stone, glass and water combined with its openness and lack of boundaries makes the pavilion a unique place of relaxation – a modern temple that is not just a multifaceted spa oasis, but also a unique complex of fascinating contrasts.

Spa Pavillon