noa* takes the stage with its latest project: a wellness area devised as a theatre with
numerous different interpretations of the available space. A new, fresh take on the
traditional Spa concept.
The South Tyrolean practice leverages the incredible nature at the heart of Tirol, Austria,
to design a contemporary and ‘stirring’ building. The glass and cement are in constant
dialogue with the environment’s morphology, culture, and history.
In October 2018, the Mohr Life Resort’s new wellness area was inaugurated in Lermoos, one
of the oldest skiing areas in Tirol just an 80-km drive from Innsbruck. The Hotel itself is
steeped in history, a household name for anyone visiting the skiing carousel in the
northern Alps in Tirol.
The new glass and cement structure was built organically on a gentle slope located below
the hotel. It features a unique view across the spacious Ehrwalder Becken valley peppered
with old farmhouses and barns; what’s more, the imposing 3,000 metres of the Zugspitze
mountain – which represents a geographical border between Austria and Germany – overlooks
the entire valley.
Architect Christian Rottensteiner, partner at noa*, explains how ‘the majestic and powerful
presence of the mountain itself was our test bench. The Zugspitze generally – and its
beauty, strength, and formal complexity specifically – was our inspiration and the
project’s protagonist. The new wellness area is conceived as a theatre’s stalls, an ideal
location to admire that extraordinary masterpiece. Guests are cocooned in a relaxing
environment which harmonises with the environment. Our challenge is to create structures
which expand and intensify the perception of spaces, thus creating restorative areas which
stir new emotions in visitors.’
The new wellness area at the Mohr Life Resort stretches out across 600 sqm and features a
roofed infrastructure built from scratch and an outdoor area with a swimming pool. The
latter also connects the two buildings via a central extension into the spa.
The glass and cement structure extends horizontally to create an artificial rib, mirrored
by the dry stone walls running along its side. The project was specifically designed
considering the gently sloping terrain and develops across two levels: this creates a
height difference which allowed for the creation of the swimming pool.
A sober and light building in the landscape obtained by the aggregation of simple shapes:
glass cubes placed across the two levels create the structural grid for the edifice’s
Moreover, using a reflective glass surface delivers an unexpected, scenic effect: the
different shapes virtually fade into the background and meld into a ‘screen’ mirroring the
gargantuan silhouette of the Zugspitze. And there’s more. The pool runs flush along the
length of the Spa’s glass front, thus doubling the image of the mountain thanks to
impactful chromatic mirror effects.
THE SPA: A CASCADE OF EXPERIENCES
While the outer structure is all lines and stark shapes, its traits become softer, more
organic, enveloping the viewer into its embrace once inside the building. The tension
created by the contrast between indoor and outdoor language enriches the building both
aesthetically and formally.
The relaxation areas were developed to look like theatre stages with a view across the
mountain. Every ‘booth’ includes two deckchairs featuring different designs: open, spacious
areas with huge swings hanging from the ceiling enshrouded by drapery or metal cones
framing the mountain alternate with closed balconies delivering increased privacy and
relaxation with an omnipresent mountain view.
The ground floor also features a private lounge; a lobby and bar for refreshments; a Spa
and scenic sauna for approximately 20 people featuring a mini bistro reminiscent of cinema
halls, as well as changing booths and showers. Last but not least, a scenic spiral
staircase pinpoints the centre of the building and takes revellers to the first floor…
where 10 symmetrical chill-out ‘stages’ await them (5 per side).
THE OUTDOOR AREA
The swimming pool represents the natural extension of the wellness area. It extends into
the open and features chill-out areas boasting different sensorial experiences. Six ‘island
boxes’ dot the water basin, reflecting the structure overlooking the pool: however, the
group of shapes virtually dissolves and opens up the view across the landscape as much as
possible. Both the indoor and outdoor elements of the pool feature ‘islands’ offering
guests original and essential experiences.