It was the famed jump into the deep end: at the idyllic Völser Weiher lake in South Tyrol,
noa* merged a modern design concept with well-loved tradition to deliver architecture that
works in harmony with nature.
Amid a spectacular mountain backdrop lined with lush green pine forests, the Völser Weiher
lake lies over 1,000 meters above sea level. The idyll here is palpable: a scenic nature
reserve that offers year-round visitors space for relaxation and leisure. noa* was
commissioned by the municipality of Völs to build a small, attractive swimming hut with
attached public changing rooms and sanitary facilities that would complement the scenic
Too small and no longer fit for purpose, the existing old kiosk was getting on in years and
was lacking proper accessible facilities for the disabled. The popular destination for
outdoor excursions, particularly amongst the locals, whether a refreshing swim in summer or
ice skating in winter, was to be given a fresh, contemporary makeover. The old facility was
demolished to create space for a new chapter in which architecture could combine with its
surroundings in a harmonious whole.
EXTENDING A WARM WELCOME
To keep the facility’s scale discreet and small in order to blend in with its special
surroundings, noa* designed two compact structures with a restrained cubature that are
connected along a transverse axis.
The main building, a new snack-bar with a classic saddle roof, contains a part closed, part
open kitchen and counter where food and drinks are served. It expands into an open loggia
and terrace, with sweeping views over the lake and newly designed bathing area.
The transverse axis that connects the two buildings is defined by an open recess with a
wooden folding element. The recess functions as second counter where bathers, pedestrians,
and cyclists can purchase small refreshments, ice cream, and food. The recess also acts a
clever partition, so the loggia and terrace area can be kept comfortably quiet, while
simultaneously enabling quick and easy self-service for guests.
The second building structure is a separate cube connected to the snack-bar, which is
dedicated to its public function and together with the main building forms a tight ensemble
both architecturally and functionally.
It is here that the sanitary facilities meet accessibility requirements and provide
changing rooms for enthusiastic leisure athletes such as swimmers or ice skaters. In the
facilities’ centre, there is a small open atrium with changing rooms for guests and lockers
specially made by local craft businesses. The atrium offers a glimpse of the skyline to
signal an inviting welcome for bathers and hikers. In these public accessible premises, a
robust resin trowel technology was selected that can both withstand the wear and tear of
skates as well as ensure safety on a wet floor. To blend in with the natural environment,
the architects’ interior design focuses on a strong visual harmonization between the
indoors and outdoors. Green was chosen as the base colour for the floor, walls and ceiling,
with different shades helping to create an ambience of flowing continuation of nature.
The floor and vertical surfaces add another unique feature to the lakeside facility: to
plant the architecture firmly within its’ location, noa* incorporated a traditional South
Tyrolean lace pattern into the resin filler. The motifs were briefly pressed into the damp
resin and quickly removed to create an irregular, three-dimensional effect. These 3D
patterns, sometimes more, and sometimes less readily apparent, add a special visual flair
and a touch of spontaneity. While the main building exudes a characteristic presence and is
roughly equal in size to the old structure, noa* created a concept in which the other
volume takes a back seat optically. The wooden frame construction along the transverse
axis, which connects the two facility buildings, also acts as a support structure for
climbing plants. Within a few months, the planned fast-growing jasmine will envelop the
changing rooms in natural, green foliage. When viewed from the lake, the greenery will make
the building disappear into its’ surroundings.
The ensemble lies in a unique natural landscape and offers beautifully framed perspectives
of views of the lake, forest and mountain. The specially selected, untreated larch wood
facade will be left to its natural fate - slowly changing as it’s exposed to the elements
over time. The newly built bathing jetties, made with wood from the surrounding forests,
branch out and dissolve into the lake, guiding visitors from the buildings into the water.
Meanwhile, the less-than-conspicuous architecture highlights the flora, giving it space to
gently insert itself. Every element of the project demonstrates noa’s* commitment to
handling natural environments responsibly and with care while remaining true to their
architectural standards. Between the freshly laid rows of reed and the new area for children, the contemporary design creates space for nature lovers to soak up the serenity
in a rendezvous with nature.
It was the famed jump into the deep end: at the idyllic Völser Weiher lake in South Tyrol,noa* merged a modern design concept with well-loved tradition to deliver architecture thatworks in harmony with nature.Amid a spectacular mountain backdrop lined with lush green pine forests, the Völser Weiherlake lies over 1,000 meters above sea level. The idyll here is palpable: a scenic naturereserve that offers year-round visitors space for relaxation and leisure. noa* wascommissioned by the...
- Year 2019
- Work finished in 2019
- Status Completed works
- Type Modular/Prefabricated housing / Leisure Centres / Chalets, Mountains houses