The Therme Vals is a hotel and spa in one. Peter Zumthor designed the spa and baths which opened in 1996, before the rest of the hotel was built. His idea was to create a cave/ quarry like structure that blends right into the mountain. Uniquely, the bathrooms lay below a grass roof structure half buried into the hillside. The Therme Vals is built from locally quarried Valser Quartzite slabs. This stone became Zumthor’s inspiration for the design, and he used it with dignity and respect.
He definitely took the mystic qualities of a world of stone within the mountain, for darkness and light, for light reflections on the water or in the steam saturated air into his design. Using these very natural aspects he crafted the environment that was spa-worthy and naturally artistic too.
“Mountain, stone, water – building in the stone, building with the stone, into the mountain, building out of the mountain, being inside the mountain – how can the implications and the sensuality of the association of these words be interpreted, architecturally?” Peter Zumthor.