Materiality In Zumthor's Building

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When considering the “delight” factor in Zumthor’s building, the first thing that comes to our mind is the apparent. Delight, in terms of beauty and leisure. Those are the main characteristics of any spa facility. The aspect of Delight that really is appealing to me on the specific building, is the one associated with quality . Within the vision of the Architect, was the intention to create something “timeless” . The term timeless, in my point of view, is something that is established for its quality throughout the years without allowing time to affect it. The Architect elegantly designed a cavernous interior setting, which he brought to life with his material choices. He writes “…For a moment, I had the feeling that our project had escaped us and become independent because it had evolved into a material entity that obeyed its own laws” . Therme Vals is built from layer upon layer of locally quarried Valser Quarzite slabs . He embodies his “timeless” vision by carefully choosing his materials. This minimal, yet timeless material, the stone, “obeys its own laws”. Zumthor’s work proves, that in the end of every conceptual process, the real architecture starts, which is based on the quality of structure and materials. As stated in the introduction, Zumthor is concerned about the “other things”. Materiality is a critical feature in all of his projects, and in this case, the architect did not only blend the building with the landscape, by sinking it carefully into the slope, but he also uses genuine local materials to give the space atmospheric ideals. Always working towards a consistent visual appearance, Zumthor uses this quality factor in the interior building method. Using a system of specifically, almost scientifically, arrangem... ... middle of paper ... ...in his book “The Shape of things that Work” wonders “When we design buildings, are we creating form for form’s sake? or: do we create and choose a form that does something, that interacts with the senses in a discernable and identifiable fashion?” . An answer could be, not every architect does. Zumthor, successfully crafted a building that interacts with the senses in a “discernable and identifiable fashion”. That is, after considering the interior atmosphere, which sets the sensuous and intimate tone of the encounter of subtle light, water, stone and skin, and the effect given from the poetical use of materials. This, makes an atmosphere of intimate serenity, which also adds a mystical dimension to the act of bathing. A dimension, which attracts the most interest from its users, as it is the sensuous nature of the baths that make their actual experience so unique.

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