Historical thermal baths get new lease of life as Thermoludic Center in Amélie-Les Bains
The site of the new spa centre at Ville de Amélie-Les Bains has extraordinary landscape and historical attributes. Its elevated position in the city, its topography in the mountain landscape and the fact that it was previously used as a thermal bath centre, formed the basis for a Thermoludic Center by Francisco Mangado Arquitecto.
The original walls of the thermal bath centre have been retained and while the value of the complex lies not so much in its style or form, the thick masonry walls have been constructed well and have retained their tectonic and material attributes for many years.
The starting point of Francisco Mangado Arquitecto’s intervention is to try to respect the old thermal hospital construction while reshaping the roofs, reinforcing the areas resulting from that and creating an additionalvolume. Glazed and lighter in build, this volume rests on and flows through the existing construction which acts as a plinth and accommodates new uses as well as the scheme of circulation spaces necessary for the new thermal centre to function. The space between the hotel and the baths is more effectively configured as a garden.
The team has proposed an intervention that, while deferring to the past, will not go unnoticed in conceptual and formal terms and which asserts its contemporariness through an integrated complex where an interpretation of time, of different periods of time, is easily recognisable through the expression of forms and materials.
The other concept implicit in this proposal has to do with ensuring a certain degree of privacy. By taking advantage of the large existing raised courtyard and creating a new access that connects this space to the raised area where the outdoor water pools are located, the project forms a cloistral arrangement that gives privacy while enhancing the relationship between interior and exterior.