Switzerland

Wellness Hostel 4000

LOCATION
Saas-Fee, Switzerland
ARCHITECT
Steinmann & Schmid Arch. AG BSA SIA
YEAR
2014
PRODUCTS
Plural, Valley

Wellness Hostel 4000

Stay at the highest level

Europe’s first wellness hostel ...

The times at which youth hostels stood for spartan furnishings and facilities definitely seem to have gone. A typical example has been realised recently in the Swiss Saas-Fee: currently the first youth hostel with its own wellness area is now making international headlines. Carefully selected ceramic tiles are architecturally convincing, which, on the one hand, take into account the Alpine character of the environment, and, on the other hand, ensure impressive aesthetics thanks to projectspecific special solutions.

The new building of the youth hostel named “WellnessHostel4000“ (an allusion to its altitude above sea level) in the Swiss glacier village Saas-Fee is reminiscent of the typical barns of the Saas valley, whose timber constructions stand on a stone foundation. In the case of the “Hostel4000”, the building cladded with horizontally layered spruce wood elements was interpreted in a contemporary manner and designed as a polygonally cut up cube, under which the new “Aqua Allalin” wellness area is accommodated.

Youth hostel with its own spa
The newly designed wellness area spanning 1,900 square metres is located directly at the approximately 300-metre deep canyon of the Feevispa (a tributary brook of the Saaser Vispa) and permits a view of the imposing mountains from inside through generous glass panes. For youth hostels, this wellness area is unique, but it can also hold its own in a comparison with high-class hotels. This is ensured by diverse saunas, a steam bath, various “adventure” showers as well as a whirlpool with a fantastic panoramic view of the canyon and the surrounding mountain peaks soaring four thousand metres high.

Materials picking up on regional elements
This integration of the imposing Alpine environment was to be reflected in materials conveying a natural impression, which were used in the wellness area. With regard to the tiles, for example, a solution had to be found which, on the one hand, corresponds with the look and haptics of the archaic mountains but, on the other hand, is also robust and hard-wearing. The decision was made in favour of porcelain stoneware tiles from the Valley series offered by Agrob Buchtal. A harmonious look is ensured not only by the earthy relief with fine, grained structures and the chosen colour slate, but also by the consistent use of natural raw materials such as coloured clay minerals and earths. In addition, this collection offers a wide range of sizes and non-slip categories, complying with the explicit desire for a large 75x75 cm format featuring non-slip category R11/B.

Individual production for the guest
Daniel Hoefer, Project Manager of the “WellnessHostel4000” at Steinmann & Schmid Architekten, Basel, is enthusiastic about the fact that almost all Agrob Buchtal series are available in a great variety of colours and sizes. “This significantly facilitates the continuous format changes experienced during the actual construction phase.” Furthermore, special solutions such as, for example, the production of a floor tile in a specific colour in the case of this project were also possible at Agrob Buchtal within a short time and without any problems. Specifically, this involved the colour apple-green which – corresponding to the fresh design concept of the guest rooms – was also intended for the walls and the floor in the shower. Agrob Buchtal was the sole tile manufacturer which had this colour in its programme, albeit only for application on the wall. Exclusively for this specific project, Agrob Buchtal could demonstrate one of its core competencies by producing the corresponding tiles in the requisite non-slip category R11/B for the floor, thereby permitting a homogeneous and aesthetic ensemble.

 

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Photographer: Adriano Faragulo