Congratulations to Peter Zumthor, architect of the Therme Vals for being awarded the prestigious RIBA Gold Medal. The Therme Vals, his beautifully conceived Swiss Spa, exerts a particular hold on the imagination. It references many archetypes – the submerged city, the inner chambers of pyramids, underwater caves. A labyrinthine, Borgean space.
Within its walls, natural warm water flows through towering quartz clad rooms and narrow corridors. Dramatic natural illumination is not conventionally situated, but pierces the interior from above and even below the waterline.
I imagine swimming through the Spa would be a dream-like experience. A slow drift through different rooms, each impressing the senses with sparkling reflections, mysterious shadows and watery echoes. A surreal, disembodied journey that draws the visitor through the spa, like dreams, perhaps, working their way through the corridors of the subconscious, the mansions of the mind.