Currently at Therme Vals

MATERIAL AND PRESENCE.

The architecture of the spa complex. from Peter Zumthor.

«Mountain, stone, water – building in the stone, building with stone, into the mountain, building out of the mountain, being inside the mountain – how can the implications and the sensuality in the association of these words be interpreted, architecturally? The whole concept was designed by following up these questions; so that it all took form step by step.»
Peter Zumthor Therme Vals, edition Scheidegger&Spiess, p. 57

«Our design ideas for the thermal bath included giant, hollowed out stone blocks. (…) However, the largest stone blocks that could be manufactured in Vals, transported and above all also be stacked up into walls using manual labour, were comparably tiny, measured against the idea of the room height blocks that we wanted to define our building. So, we decided to achieve the desired effect of the monolithic look of our blocks with a sort of "stone textile", and have designed a joint pattern, which allowed us to join the stones together to make a homogeneous looking wall. The joint pattern finally developed in many work steps is based on the principle layering thin stone panels in three different heights: 31, 47 and 63 mm. These three layer heights run through the whole bath from top to bottom. Layer on layer. Without exception.“
Peter Zumthor in Stein und Wasser – Kultur»Winter 2003/04 (edited by Therme Vals)
[In stone and water - Culture winter]

«The flank of the valley opposite the thermal baths, an immense, sweeping slope with small barns to store hay; rectangular pastures, some mown, some for grazing, full of boulders, scored and inscribed with paths and fences. The meadow carpet is lumpy. It covers the stony flank of the mountain.»
Peter Zumthor Therme Vals, edition Scheidegger&Spiess, p. 47

«The entire structure extends to a width of approximately 58 meters and cuts as far as 34 meters into the slope in front of the main building of the hotel complex, a unit erected in the 1970s and which stands at the northeastern corner of the property like a sweeping gesture with its four rows of loggias overlooking the grass-covered roof of the Therme. Fifteen rectangular stone blocks ranging from three to five meters in width and six to eight meters in length each support part of the roof. They are composed according to a strict grid of perpendicular lines and stand like monoliths arranged in a system of pinwheels.»
Peter Zumthor Therme Vals, edition Scheidegger&Spiess, p. 95

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books "Peter Zumthor - Therme Vals"
 

Vals quartzite

Overall, 450 m³ or 1300 tonnes of Vals quartzite panels were processed for the walls of the thermal baths, for 3100 m² wall surface in 20 layers per m². The length of all the panel strips used together is 62,000 running metres.

  • Pressure resistance: around 217 N/mm2
  • Bulk density: 2,698 kg/m3
  • Milled stone panels: Thicknesses 63, 47 and 31 mm
  • Tolerance: 1 mm
  • Widths: 12 – 30 cm
  • Lengths: up to 3.20 m
  • Joint width: around 2 mm

Grottos

  • Drinking stone: polished cuboids, in layers - stacked size around 0.5 – 1 m3
  • Sound Bath - Resonance Room: broken stone inside
  • Sweat Stone: dyed and polished concrete
  • Stone Isle: large scale split panels up to 3 m2 per panel