Site Lake Baths

Serra da Estrela, Portugal

Text: Marta Atzeni

Lake Comprida, surrounded by the granite peaks of the highest Portuguese mountain range, Serra da Estrela, is a glacier basin with broad fields of erratics: an impressive mountainous landscape, carved by natural agents.

Any type of intervention in such a virgin land raises first of all ethical rather than formal issues: for this reason the proposal aims at placing a new sign in the Portuguese granite landscape by offering an immersive experience to the visitor, while keeping unchanged the landscape’s natural balance.

Site Lake Baths - proposal for a health spa complex - is conceived as a new layer overlapping the millennial stratifications: it merges with the landscape adding another step to the site’s evolutionary process.

The bathhouse is organised around a path zigzagging through the landscape: following the contour lines of Serra da Estrela, the path reaches Lake Comprida floating over its water surface. From the path, visitors can access all the distinctive spaces of the health spa. Its volumes, all of different sizes, are shaped according to the geometries and signs of the surrounding land.

Creating a path that connects to main pedestrian routes through Serra da Estrela, the health spa complex acts as a link between the mountains and the lake.