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Introspective Cubicle

Spa Design & Reuse of Italian Ancient Palace


Work Type: Team of Five
Location: Collodi, Italy
Mentor: Marco Conti

Role in Team: Technical Drawings, Sauna Details Design, Collage Perspectives

I regard the Sauna as a spiritual place that can evoke a deep and primitive human experience due to the high-temperature environment. Thus, “introspective cubicle” refers to a place that leads people to sedately perceive the simple but trivial things that are often neglected due to their busy lives. 

Our task was to revitalize the old town of Collodi by combining a study of human wellness with the ancient palace Palazzina Garzoni. We attempted to reuse the palace by means of inserting a spa facility that featured a sauna because Collodi used to be well-known for its thermal resources, and people went there to bathe.  

Since the site included a small meadow, we proposed to create a stream that would circulate from the outdoor garden to the indoor palace. Water plays a significant role in connecting the landscape and every room. For example, water first flows into the room for relaxing, relieving stress and calming people by generating the sound of water flow. Next, water from outdoors fills up the indoor pool and overflows into the adjacent sauna. Eventually, the water is pumped to the upper floor and released as a cascade back to the swimming pool. In other words, we considered the water loop as a robust external connection between the natural environment and the physical building. 

Original Condition of the Site

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Strategy for Adjusting the Structure 

The palace is composed of stone and wood. We proposed to conserve the wall structures and reinforce them as shear walls. In this case, the fragmented spaces were integrated into the spa facilities. 

Two staircases were added for renewed spatial circulation that guided visitors to the reception and changing rooms on the upper floor, which we planned to be a dry area. The other staircase directs people back to the wet area on the ground floor for the sauna, the steam bath, and the pool. 

As to the construction of the oval sauna, we were inspired by snake scales to shape the free- formed wooden panel skin. The panels attach to XPS foam board forming the main structure, thereby achieving our intended form. 

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Spatial Circulation

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Structure & Configuration of the Sauna Cubicle

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Structure & Configuration of the Sauna Cubicle

Detail工作區域 1.jpg

Sauna within the Short Side of the Building Section 

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Since the existing loaded structure divides the palace into several independent rooms, the proposed sauna room plays a role in the integration of both vertical and horizontal spaces.

The Long Side of the Building Section 

Water is an essential element for composing spas and it builds ties between the outdoor landscape and indoor human activities. Not only does it create a visual connection of the spaces but it also manifests the fact that water defines how humans act and move within the building. 

Section 1工作區域 1.jpg

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