Gravity defying spa turns a mountain village on its head
Back in 2016, Network of Architecture (NOA) created a stunning glass-bottomed cantilevered swimming pool in Italy. Now the firm has returned to the same site to add an equally eye-catching sauna and pool extension that takes the form of a mountainside village made up of several huts, including some that look like they've been turned upside down.
Bringing to mind the architectural oddities of Alex Chinneck, the Hub of Huts is situated in Italy's mountainous South Tyrol region and is connected to the Hubertus Hotel in Olang. Inspiration for its unusual design resulted from NOA observing that the surrounding landscape was reflected in its previously completed swimming pool.
"The new structure is located on the southeast side of the facade, in a position symmetrical to the swimming pool," explained NOA. "Like the pool, this is also detached from the main building: the platform hovers 15 meters [almost 50 ft] above the ground and is supported by two pillars clad in larch logs, similar to those that punctuate the facade behind.
"The decision to work with inverted pitched roofs is a choice motivated by formal and functional reasons: on the one hand, the desire to reproduce the architecture of a mountain village, and on the other hand, the practical need to allocate in the inverted roof the water purification system in the case of the swimming pool and the seating tiers in the case of the sauna. Moreover, the offset of the huts and the alternating orientation of the roof ridges allow a 360 degree view of the landscape, the real centerpiece of the project. "
The Hub of Huts juts out from the main hotel and is accessed by guests using a raised walkway. It measures 460 sq m (almost 5,000 sq ft), which is spread over two floors, and has a capacity for up to 27 people.
The upper floor is taken up by two large whirlpool baths, several showers with a panoramic view, and a changing room. The lower floor, meanwhile, offers access to saunas and an outdoor pool that also offers superb views of the stunning landscape.