Puradies Wellness Resort, Austria: Intertwining with nature
A breathtaking mountain backdrop, lush green meadows, a small lake and plenty of fresh air: All of this makes the Puradies nature resort in Leogang in Salzburger Land a haven of vitality, which NOA has expanded with the new spa themed around the elements of fire, water, earth and air.
The family-run hotel with its 76 rooms and 14 chalets, laid out as a village, lives up to its name: For those seeking relaxation and sports enthusiasts, the hotel offers heavenly facilities. The sustainable philosophy runs through the range of activities on offer, the cuisine and the architecture. Among its guests you will find passionate skiers, mountain bikers, hikers and families with children who enjoy scaling the mountain peaks.
This striking landscape was NOA’s focus from the very beginning of the design process. Prior to the recent extension, the hotel had a natural bathing pond with boardwalks, but no pools. Strong demand was ultimately the trigger for a completely new spa concept, which includes wellness and sports areas as well as the new in-house restaurant Ess-Enz.
SUBLIMITY WITHOUT ELEVATION
The new building, which now houses fitness and yoga rooms, lounging areas and relaxation rooms, its own children’s pool, an adult pool and the restaurant, is harmoniously embedded in the landscape despite its size and expanse. The floor plans are laid out in concentric rows, blending in with the natural topography. One centre faces the bathing lake and the other faces the hill on the south side. This creates two façades that, despite their different orientations, are in balance with each other and are inviting no matter which direction they are approached from. Green roofs blend seamlessly with the meadows, while below separate spaces have great views north and south and open up to maximise the enjoyment of the surroundings. The new wellness wing with its different spaces rises out of the ground like a gentle wave and disappears again into the meadow with its expressive peaked canopies. For the onlooker, the pastoral landscape with its endless expanse and tall grasses, which is so characteristic of this area, is preserved.
“Our idea was to integrate the new building as homogeneously as possible into the landscape and not to build a towering building.” – Gottfried Gruber, architect.
A lawn with raised beds, a column fountain made of Dorfer quartzite and an open-air fire pit extends between the main house and the new building, while underground the existing corridor that previously led to the beauty reception area has been maintained. This is the connecting point for access to the new wellness area. A new long corridor, whose interior design sets the mood for the four element experience, leads past treatment rooms to the sports and fitness room with a view of an inner courtyard with a rock garden. In the corridor itself, the elements of earth and air meet, rendered as a rough, surfaced wall in an earthy hue on one side and light linen fabrics on the opposite side of the window. The mineral, coarse plaster gives the passage tactility, while the light-flooded, lively textiles lend it a mystical air.
INSIGHTS, OUTLOOKS, VIEWS
After passing through, the guest is first welcomed by the fireplace lounge – a split-level room that connects the wellness area and the restaurant across levels. As the name suggests, the central element is an open, bowlshaped hanging fireplace framed by a floor-to-ceiling wall artwork by a young local artist, Michael Lang. Seating cushions and plants give character to the room, which is lined with sisal rugs. Here, guests can relax with a drink and enjoy the view in the fiery, earthy ambience. The fireplace lounge leads to the new yoga room, which can also be used as another relaxation room with fold-out couches. A staircase leads up the gallery to the new restaurant.
Continuing on the lower level, the passageway leads to the area with the children’s pool. Here the elements of earth and water meet. The eye is drawn first to the pool with its organic free form and a water slide, surrounded by intimate alcoves that invite relaxation and play. These are equipped with a wooden floor, deep seat cushions, loungers and armchairs, covered with outdoor fabrics, as well as sisal carpets and fabric lamps with a shade made of yarn. A homely, cosy character and a fascinating play of light and shadow give the room character. Directly above the pool are metal suspensions for hanging plants. Outside is an area with tables, sheltered from the wind and sun, with a lawn extending out towards the swimming pond.
“In the interior, we played with the four elements: fire, air, earth and water are reflected in different forms in each of the rooms.” – Regina Traar, interior designer.
Past the dressing rooms and sanitary facilities, the wellness guest reaches the main pool, which continues outside. In addition to the numerous lounging options close to the floor, a slightly higher platform in the middle of the room is a special design highlight. From here, you can enjoy the view across the pool towards the swimming pond, enveloped by floating light linen curtains that change colour from light to darker towards the floor. The airiness is also contrasted here with the rough-surfaced wall that runs continuously through the entire wellness area as a reference to the earth.
BETWEEN MOUNTAIN AND VALLEY VIEWS
On the upper floor, the new à la carte restaurant Ess-Enz is a true fusion of all elements. On the south side, the building is only apparent as architecture at this level, albeit discreetly and still true to the terrain. The transparency provided by the large glass fronts and the recessed skylights create an airy lightness and allow impressive views of the pond, pool and sky. In the interior, organically shaped ceiling elements made of wood with hanging plants recreate the height profile of a mountain. The lights laser-cut from wood, which seem to vibrate with the air circulation, further enhance the sense of weightlessness, while the compact seating islands, with fabric covers that are partly plain and partly patterned, keep the design grounded.
Adjacent to the restaurant, a sun terrace oriented in different directions offers a view of the mountain panorama and the meadows. The space is characterised by the tilted section of the projecting roofs, whose architectural silhouette changes constantly depending on the viewing angle. A very exciting open space is created between two closed structures, which strongly influences the perception of the landscape. Separated from the restaurant by the sun terrace are two other relaxation rooms, one with natural stone dedicated to the earth and the other with sisal surfaces open to the air. From here you can get return to the basement and the main pool. This completes the cycle of the wellness area at the point where the building merges back into the landscape.
Project name: Puradies
Location: Leogang, Austria
Client: Madreiter family
NOA Intervention: Architecture & Interior Design, New construction
Construction start: October 2022
Completion: May 2023
Volume (GV): 7.860 m3
Surface area (GFA): 3.070 m2
Original text: Barbara Jahn
Photographs: Alex Filz