Opened in 1979 as one of the first so-called ‘event spas’, the Thermal Römerbad at the time represented an innovative departure in thermal spa architecture. The client was therefore very concerned to retain the site’s original character when adding new facilities - a wellness and sauna area, rest rooms, a children’s area, and a beauty area.
Behnisch Architekten’s proposal anticipated locating all the newly foreseen facilities in a freshly designed landscape around the original building. The latter’s formal canon was to be reflected by swung, greened terraces. The original main hall of the spa thus retains its dominant, sculptural influence. Internal organisation and design of the property are essentially determined by two factors: firstly, the landscaped terraces aligned to the natural east-west axis of the valley and, secondly, by the multi-storey nature of the building, which is a rather unusual feature in a spa.
An atrium inserted into the new wellness wing constitutes the geometric, communicative heart of the refurbished thermal spa.
The facades of the new extension have a double purpose: firstly, the simple wooden post and beam construction of the interior cladding serves as insulation whilst maximal glazing of the naturally lit interior rooms assures guests an optimal view of their natural surroundings; secondly, the lamellae structure of the timber outer cladding, the density of which varies, defines the character of the building.