Vals-les-Bains Introduction (00:51)
Peter Zumthor built the spa in Switzerland between 1993 and 1996. View inside and outside the structure.
Vals Hydrotherapy Center (01:14)
Hot springs have been used commercially since the 19th century. A hotel built in the 1960s went bankrupt; the village bought the property in 1986 to develop a new spa complex.
Vals Spa Concept (01:50)
The village commission chose Peter Zumthor, an unknown architect, for the project. He describes his vision of building the bath into the mountain to reflect a geological time scale.
Vals Spa Position (01:14)
Zumthor sank his building into the mountain slope to avoid blocking hotel views. Local gneiss forms a visible facade.
Vals Spa Layout (02:28)
Guests enter through a hotel corridor. An indoor and an outdoor pool appear carved into the mountain. Clientele include hotel guests, day visitors, and villagers.
Vals Architectural Vision (01:26)
Zumthor describes how he develops a concept from an image. For the spa, he visualized opening the mountain and creating a quarry.
Vals Spa Construction (01:52)
The facade reveals how Zumthor compiled unique stone units with outcropping roof sections. They fit together like a puzzle with small gaps that create light shafts.
Vals Spa "Surprise" Units (01:23)
Zumthor used color and water to create unique experiences in each block, allowing guests to invent their itinerary through the structure.
Concrete Architecture (01:12)
Zumthor discusses using building shells as instruments for spacial experiences. Vals Spa units form a large scale landscape of cliffs and fault lines.
Vals Spa Stone Walls (01:49)
For visual diversity, 60,000 one meter slabs are stacked in varying heights; their large scale creates a staging effect.
Vals Spa Vistas (01:32)
Zumthor uses mountain exposure as a confrontation between humans and nature. View the spa pools drained and cleaned at night.
Bathing Ritual (02:27)
Zumthor discusses creating a mystical experience by juxtaposing austerity and sensuality in his architecture.
Vals Spa Lighting (02:53)
View thermal pools during the day and at night. Bathers chant, creating an otherworldly experience.
Architecture and Freedom (01:28)
Zumthor defines architecture as bringing a work to life, creating a separate world, and leaving an imprint for those who enter its space.
Vals Spa Conclusion (01:38)
Against his wishes, Zumthor installed clocks in the baths. The architect created a world touching the five senses for a spiritual experience.
Credits: The Stone Thermal Baths: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture (00:54)
Credits: The Stone Thermal Baths: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture
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