The South Tyrolean practice noa* – network of architecture leverages the incredible nature at the heart of Tirol, Austria, to design a contemporary and ‘stirring’ building for the new wellness area at the Mohr Life Resort.
Located in Lermoos, one of the oldest skiing areas in Tirol just an 80-km drive from Innsbruck, the glass and cement structure is in constant dialogue with the environment’s morphology, culture, and history. The Hotel itself is steeped in history, a household name for anyone visiting the skiing carousel in the northern Alps in Tirol.
The new building 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 skeleton. 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.
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).
On the outside, 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.