enota architects ongoing development over the last fifteen years of slovenia’s ‘terme olimia’ concludes the complete renovation of the termalija family wellness center. the firm has transformed the 1980s-era complex from a classic health center into a relaxing, contemporary thermal spa. the new facility is located at the site of a former outdoor pool which had featured a temporary seasonal roof structure. while this cover was intended to be retracted during the summer months, this was never done due to the complexity of the retraction process. because of its form and immense scale, this original membrane covering stood out considerably from the surrounding built structures. the antiquated roof together with new programmatic requirements led to the transformation of the entire complex.

enota architects termalija
all images by miran kambič

 

 

a great portion of the previous ENOTA projects within the complex of terme olimia were cut-and-filled under the surrounding terrain in order to reduce their presence on the site. this design approach was not possible, however, in the case of the termalija family wellness. the required volume, especially in the area with water surfaces, called for a much larger structure which could not simply be buried below grade. as the studio could no longer reference only the surrounding natural landscape, a solution was found in the scale and form of the vernacular structures of the area.

enota architects termalija

 

 

while termalija was designed programmatically with the same method as the firm’s past project, orhidelia, the large roof above the water area took on a distinctive formal structure. the roof, in its design, had been subdivided into smaller segments to prevent its scale from visually overwhelming the surroundings. viewed from a distance, the silhouette, color, and scale of the clustered tetrahedral volumes is a continuation of the clustered surrounding rural buildings. this offers a visual extension between the project and its context.

enota architects termalija

 

 

the structure of clustered volumes gives the new roof static strength, allowing the entire pool space to be covered virtually without supports. in this way, the new roof floats above the pool platform, which is designed as an exterior space. due to the lack of outdoor spaces in the summer, it was imperative to examine solutions which would deliver the same closed space used by the guests in winter as an open space in summer. numerous skylights in the roof, together with the ability to fully open all the facade glass surfaces, enable the guests to seamlessly pass through the interior of the building. despite its size and the space it occupies, the new roof simply acts as a sunshade in the summer months and does not usurp any exterior space.

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