The times at which youth hostels stood for spartan furnishings and facilities definitely seem to have gone. A typical example has been realized recently in the Swiss Saas-Fee: the currently first youth hostel with an own wellness area is making international headlines. Carefully selected ceramic tiles are architecturally convincing, which, on the one hand, take into account the alpine character of the environment, and, on the other hand, ensure impressive aesthetics thanks to project-specific special solutions.
The new building of the youth hostel named “WellnessHostel4000“ (an allusion to the altitude above sea level) in the Swiss glacier village Saas-Fee makes reference to the typical barns of the Saas valley, at which a timber construction stands on a stony foundation. In the case of the “Hostel4000“, the building cladded with horizontally layered spruce wood elements was interpreted in a contemporary manner and designed as polygonally cut up cube. Under it, the new wellness area “Aqua Allalin“ is located.
Integration of the publicly owned indoor swimming pool
This new wellness area is connected with the existing publicly owned indoor swimming pool via the basement. Thanks to the present private-public partnership, a second life virtually has been breathed into the building showing its age: the spatial and economic connection of youth hostel and indoor swimming pool as well as the renovation and extension of the publicly accessible wellness area permit the municipal administration to continue the operation of the swimming pool making losses until then. It will retain its autonomy in future as well, and it is expected that the guests of the youth hostel will considerably contribute to its basic utilization and consolidation.
Youth hostel with own wellness area
The newly designed wellness area in the size of 1,900 square metres is located directly at the approximately 300 metres deep canyon of the Feevispa (a tributary brook of the Saaser Vispa) and permits a view of the imposing mountains from inside through generous glass panes. For youth hostels, this wellness area is unique, but it also does not need to fear the comparison with high-class hotels. This is ensured by diverse saunas, a steam bath, various “adventure” showers as well as a whirlpool with a fantastic panoramic view of the canyon and the surrounding four thousand metre high mountain peaks.
Materials picking up regional elements
This integration of the imposing alpine environment was to be reflected in materials conveying a natural impression, which were used in the wellness area. With regard to the tiles, for example, a solution had to be found which, on the one hand, corresponds with the look and haptics of the archaic mountains but, on the other hand, is also robust and hard-wearing. One decided on porcelain stoneware tiles of the series Valley of Agrob Buchtal. A harmonious look is ensured not only by the earthy relief with fine, grained structures and the chosen colour slate, but also by consistently used natural raw materials such as coloured clay minerals and earths. In addition, this collection offers a wide range of formats and slip-resistance categories. In this way, the explicit wish to use the majestic large format of 75x75 cm with slip-resistance category R11/B could also be realized.
Individual production for the guest room showers
Daniel Hoefer, project manager of the “WellnessHostel4000“ at Steinmann & Schmid Architekten, Basel, is enthusiastic about the fact that almost all series of Agrob Buchtal are available in a great variety of colours and formats. “Format changes which I am experiencing again and again during the actual construction phase can be realized much easier in this way.“ Furthermore, special solutions such as, for example, the production of a floor tile in a specific colour in the case of this project were also possible at Agrob Buchtal within a short time and without any problems. In concrete terms, it was the colour apple-green which - corresponding to the fresh design concept of the guest rooms - was also intended for the walls and the floor in the shower. Agrob Buchtal was the sole tile manufacturer which had this colour in its programme, however only for the application on the wall. Exclusively for this specific project, the company could demonstrate one of its core competences by producing the corresponding tiles in the required slip-resistance category R11/B for the floor and thus permitting a homogeneous and aesthetic ensemble.
The times at which youth hostels stood for spartan furnishings and facilities definitely seem to have gone. A typical example has been realized recently in the Swiss Saas-Fee: the currently first youth hostel with an own wellness area is making international headlines. Carefully selected ceramic tiles are architecturally convincing, which, on the one hand, take into account the alpine character of the environment, and, on the other hand, ensure impressive aesthetics thanks to project-specific...
- Year 2014
- Work finished in 2014
- Status Completed works
- Type Hotel/Resorts / Wellness Facilities/Spas