Entre Cielos by A4estudio
The spring of architectural creativity is in full flow, with a number of offices internationally adding value to the age-old practice of therapeutic bathing. Architonic’s Simon Keane-Cowell presents our selection of the best of the latest spa and wellness architecture. Go ahead. The water’s warm.
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Belgrade-based design studio 4of7 and London-based practice Superfusionlab have completed the conversion of a former restaurant in Belgrade, Serbia, into a gym and spa. Photos: Ana Kostic
The building named ’Danube Flower’ was built some thirty-five years ago to become a landmark at Belgrade waterfront in Serbia. It used to house an exclusive restaurant which was a segment of a larger recreational centre accessible to the public. The project was sponsored by the communist government of the time and endorsed by then ubiquitous president J.B.Tito, who was the first guest at the restaurant on November 22nd 1973. It was a famed hangout spot until its decay in the nineties and its final closure which coincided with the start of the civil war in the country. For the period of fifteen years building was not in operation and has deteriorated considerably.
Design Team: Djordje Stojanovic, Vlada Pavlovic, Slavko Milanovic
In many ways the building is particular but above all for its synthesis between architectural and structural reasoning. The main volume of the building, triangular in plan, is elevated some fifteen meters above the river and the ground level with the pedestrian esplanade. It is supported solely by the central core which contains two elevator shafts and double spiral staircase. Cantilevers are reaching out some twelve meters giving a levitating feel to the building.
In addition one more structural move is crucial for seamless interaction between exterior and interior of the building. Concrete floor-slab and ceiling shell are not connected at the perimeter of the building, allowing for the continuity of the glass façade to the full extent. Uninterrupted glass strip, with the total length of 150 meters, is wrapping around the building to give constant presence of the Danube River in the interior, with sweeping views reaching far out, both upstream and downstream.
The former communist building is cantilevered 15 metres above the river.
Originally, building was planed on the grid of 7.3m equilateral triangles which defined its organizational and structural regularity, but with the different brief now we were looking for a change. Defining moment of the new spatial expression is the suspended. Its design is the sequence of geometric transformations and subdivision applied to the original grid. As a result, approximately 390 backlit panels with the finite variation in shape and size are suspended from the triangular steel construction.Reflective resin floor finishes throughout and semi translucent Barrisol stretched ceiling; both are aiming to expose sleek forms of Technogym training equipment in the open plan arrangement.
Approximately 390 translucent, triangular, back-lit panels are suspended from the ceiling’s steel structure.