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Working in Europe earning some hardy euro is the name of the game and bicycles, a plethora of dutch art, small houses and holiday festivities are getting in the way!

celebration of the swiss box

SWITZERLAND | Sunday, 9 November 2008 | Views [1825]

  • there is nothing so clean as the swiss box

    no corners so perpendicular

    no pine boards quite so even with lacquer and no knots quite so ‘knotlike’

    i love the cultural pragmatism and logic that is infused in swiss architecture

    simple geometries that bring attention and respect to materials

    the way sharp concrete edges frame the warmth of timber

    in the zumthor baths: delicacy and solidity is embodied in slices of rock

    slicing edges of accuracy make you consider your step.  the pace of the world is slower, whether wading through water or enjoying the sensation of temperature contrast.

    the building is approached from a traverse path up a slope.  a phugly hotel pops up from a concrete driveway, forming the unexpected entry.  a black vein-like tunnel terminated by a reception clot allows a space to think before entering the baths.

    guests are filtered in on a long axis, through red timber dressing rooms and showers to a long ramp, the most un-h+s, non-non-slip surface I have ever seen in a place for water (my one claim to a zumthor oversight )

    leading to a very well sequenced experience of bathing, at each room discovering a new group of pink-skinned guests entranced by a low humming music and the echoes of lapping water.  there is a high-ceilinged cave, entered by a stone tunnel; a black set of saunas increasing in temperature to a focal stove of red coal, rooms for showers of different pressures, hoses, wells, and 4x4 rooms with eight metre high-ceilings.

    the selling image and most important space is experienced last: a steaming open-air bath, misty in winter and in summer, open to a clear mountain view framed by a gigantic hole created by the building itself.

    in the thousand words of the postcards I was obliged to buy, you should see the baths described: an exposed but simple detailing of chinks, slab-edges, lighted lines from the ceiling, a place of peace, but also of reflection: the world slows down, you can escape the thoughts of your usual day and enjoy the essential, sensory experiences of hot and cold, wet and dry, humidity and clear mountain air.

    wow, i sound like a guidebook.  …just go there!

Tags: architecture, mountains, rant, swiss


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