Tirol, Austria is best known for the traditional alpine structures dotting its verdant mountainsides, but there’s plenty of modern architecture there, too. From Zaha Hadid’s futuristic cable car funicular to the strikingly angular Festspielhaus Erl amphitheater by Delugan Meissl Associated Architects (not to mention all of the area’s spectacular summit overlooks), this western Austrian state bordering Italy has no shortage of sights to take in.
Local architectural practice noa* adds a new “theatrical spa” to that list with the Mohr Life Resort’s new wellness area. Leveraging “the incredible nature at the heart of Tirol,” the architects aimed to design a “stirring” contemporary building offering a fresh take on the traditional spa. Concrete may not seem like an obvious choice for a structure that wants, more than anything, to be in dialogue with the physicality, culture, and history of its natural surroundings, but the trick is in the balance.
The architects say of the project: “In October 2018, the Mohr Life Resort’s new wellness area was inaugurated in Lermoos, one of the oldest skiing areas in Tirol just an 80-kilometer drive from Innsbruck. The Hotel itself is steeped in history, a household name for anyone visiting the skiing carousel in the northern Alps in Tirol. The new glass and cement structure 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.”
Lead architect Christian Rottensteiner adds that the “majestic and powerful presence of the mountain itself” serves as the anchor of the concept, and by extension is the project’s “protagonist.” The building feels just as solid as the peaks that surround it, yet permeable at the same time, its reflective glass surface echoing the rocks and trees outside as well as the powerful presence of the Zugspitze, the highest peak of the Wetterstein Mountains at 2,962 meters (about 9,718 feet) above sea level.
“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 [that allows] 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.”
Inside, the spa acts as a counterpoint to that grid, offering soft, organic surfaces that welcome tactile interaction. The ground floor features a private lounge, lobby, bar, spa and scenic sauna, mini bistro, private relaxation booths, and a gorgeous spiral staircase leading to stepped relaxation areas designed to look like theater stages with views across the mountain.
Set adjacent to one of Tirol’s oldest skiing areas, the Mohr Life Resort beckons weary adventurers with a place to rest and recuperate while seeing the stunning local scenery from a new viewpoint. Learn more or book your stay at the official Mohr Life Resort website.