teamwork with Sebastian Czichon

46°19′N 8°49′E

title and map munnar

Vallemaggia in the Ticino region has a very unique and archetypical setting. A strong emphasis was put on experiencing and making out the "genius loci", the very typical and exclusive aesthetics, materials, surroundings, cultures, etc. of the site. It was our aim to create a building that is very closly correlated with its specific place and setting. This might only be apparent on the second glance and at points in a metaphorical manner, but the entire appraoch to the design and typology was guided by this statement.

What makes the site special and one-of-a-kind is the Maggia river with exquisite turqouise water that flows through a narrow valley, juxta-posed by enormous, steep mountains, emphasizing both extreme, massive height, as well as horizontal length and the planar surface of water. Every few months of the year, the water level rises rapidly due to the melting of snow and ice up on the mountain summits - another factor that directly influences the design and positioning of the building. As a result of the two extremes found in this area - the mountain summits and the valleys down below - the decision to create a hotel and spa that highlights both of these contrasting situations came naturally. While the main space is down in the valley, with a larger restaurant, more hotel rooms and a spa area, it continously references it´s smaller counterpart high up in the mountains, encouraging visitors to hike up to reach it.

[TOPOGRAPHY] site plan
[CONCEPTUAL SECTION] view and orientation references

The focus of the valley station was on the given situation in the valley. A long-streched rectangular shape is set within the river, that at times creates an enormous force, having an effect on the volume. To withstand that power of nature, the building had to be securely anchored within its bed. Dynamic cutouts create pools on the lower level, shielding anybody standing in its wake from the power of the river. While these cutouts on the level that is directly in contact with the river are directed hirizontally towards the landscape of the valley, the upper level solely consists of cuouts facing upward, refercing and facing the sky and the mountain tops. Contact of both levels and worlds only occurs when these cuouts overlap and start to interact. Strategically placed openings, for example in one of the hot-tubs - shown on the left - give view to the summit station while in a state of contemplation and relaxation.

[PERSPECTIVE + CONCEPT] view from hot tub up into the mountains | concept for various coutouts of valley station
[FLOOR PLAN - VALLEY STATION] lower level - main access ramp and the basement storage space, maintenance, and technical equipment
[FLOOR PLAN - VALLEY STATION] upper level - foyer and restaurant | spa and library area | hotel guest rooms
[FLOOR PLAN - VALLEY STATION] roof aerial view showing the openings and courtyards facing upward
[SECTIONS] longitudinal section and cross sections
munnar tea plantation construction details
[PERSPECTIVES] entrance to the valley station hotel and spa I spa area I hotel courtyard