4a Architekten create a feel-good hotel ambience with functionality, efficiency and sustainability in mind.
Nature, wellness and design – these were the guiding principles for 4a Architekten when constructing the Spreewald Spa Hotel in Burg. Situated in the heart of the Spree Forest next to the Spreewald Therme spa, also planned and built by 4a Architekten as early as 2005, this 4-star hotel offers its guests a feel-good atmosphere to relax in since its opening in December 2012. The concept for the hotel is based on the architects’ extensive experience in giving rooms an atmospheric effect along with the aspiration to construct a functional, long-lasting and simultaneously aesthetically pleasing building.
“A hotel for the Spreewald Therme spa” – this was the task set by the client and future hotel operator Kannewischer Management AG for 4a Architekten. The distinctive nature and the challenge of the project lay in locating the hotel in the immediate context of the Spreewald Therme spa while giving the new construction with its own individual and separate character at the same time. The unity of composition between the hotel and the spa is provided by the perfectly coordinated materials that were used. The design of the hotel also captures the essential stylistic features of the Spree Forest region in the same way that is achieved by the saltwater thermal baths. The hotel and the spa are also connected by a walkway that guests can access while still in their bathrobes.
The Spa Hotel is as an elongated four-storey structure extending in a north-south direction. An extensive tiled wall panel defines the entrance area, the materials creating a link to the imposing thatched facade of the Spreewald Therme spa. The top three storeys form a single unit created by anthracite-coloured facade panelling and uniform large-format apertures with partly tinted window reveals. A total of 83 rooms with 166 beds are accommodated here. The three-storey structure is given a slightly floating character by the transparent design of the ground floor with its largely facade-high glazing. The entrance area with its lobby and conference area, a bar and the restaurant with kitchen wing are all located here. Individual wall panels which partly project outwards from the building define the space and divide the various areas on the ground floor. These elements invoke the central idea of the Spreewald Therme spa to allow nature to flow as a landscape into and through the building. A separate foyer is positioned in front of the conference area, which is immediately adjacent to the reception hall. This allows seminars to be held without being disturbed by what is happening in the hotel. It is also possible for the two areas to be interconnected and used for shared events. Flexible partition walls enable the seminar area to be divided into three multi-functional rooms, the view of the green environment creating pleasant working conditions. The spacious lounge area serves as the central meeting point and communication area for hotel guests and conference members. The various room scenarios such as the bar, lounge, fireplace room and library offer guests the opportunity either to take some time out or to enjoy the spacious atmosphere. The different areas merge gently and fluidly into each other with uninterrupted visual references into the surrounding natural environment. At the south end of the building, the restaurant and kitchen wing are connected to the lounge area. It is also possible to create separate areas in the restaurant which can be put to various uses. Room-high glass panels to the west, south and east offer guests incomparable panoramic views across the Spree Forest and provide an exceptional ambience. The wooden terraces surrounding the building form a smooth transition to the outdoor area and give guests in the summer months the opportunity to sit in the open air. Kitchen supplies are delivered via the basement so that the restaurant can be run without any disturbance whatsoever from internal work operations. With its storage areas, installations and staff rooms and areas for administration, the basement forms the functional backbone for the running of the hotel. It is accessed via a ramp next to the entrance area. The separate areas for deliveries and for guests are clearly defined spatially by a distinctive wall panel.
Guests reach the rooms in the top three storeys either via a central lift installation or on foot via the staircase in the lounge area. The architects also paid special attention to the welcoming quality of the access areas: The open design with imposing outside staircases and the widening of the interior brought about by the building’s diamond-shaped floor plan give a pleasant feeling of space. In addition, natural light is allowed in through the roof glazing in the spacious air space right down to the ground floor of the building. This not only makes for an interesting design for guests to enjoy as they walk through the building but it also enables them to orientate themselves by means of spatial visual reference points. The 83 double rooms are aligned to the east and west. The distinctive recurring floor plan is characterised by the various zones which form a single physical unit. This is achieved in part by individually designed furniture that develops fluidly from half-height partition walls and wall panelling, and from a sanitary area which allows inward and outward views by means of sliding wall elements. In some rooms it is also possible to interconnect these in order, for example, to provide families with a similarly high degree of comfort.
With regard to the hotel’s colour design, the architects have consciously chosen different colours than those of the Spreewald Therme spa. Whereas shades of green dominate in the spa, it is bold shades of red, orange and purple which add a striking tone to the ceilings and walls of the hotel. The combination of generously applied natural tones and large-format photo wallpaper depicting motifs from the Spree Forest gives rise to an ambience that has an artistically look and is rich in contrast while also reflecting the close relationship with nature. There is a direct link with the Spreewald Therme spa on the first floor along an approximately 60-metre long elevated walkway that guests can access while still in their bathrobes. This leads guests directly into the Spreewald Therme spa without them having to go outside.
The central themes of nature, wellness and design are reflected in, among other things, the interior design of the hotel and the use of typical local natural and durable materials – the long brick walls for example connect the building with the landscape. Floor coverings made from anthracite porcelain stoneware and oak, alder-wood wall panelling and furniture along with striking hues are defining design elements that lend an ambience of well-being. At the same time they make reference to the Spreewald Therme spa where identical or similar materials typical of the Spreewald were likewise used. These factors are characteristic of the sustainable construction of the hotel, as is its compact structural shape, which reduces the sealed surfaces while ensuring an optimised supporting structure. Moreover, the architects attached great importance to allowing a high degree of ambient daylight into the building. The extensive use of glazing and the open-plan staircase with natural lighting from above not only enhance the guests’ feeling of well-being but also reduce the use of artificial light. The high quality of the atmosphere at the Spa Hotel is not least a decisive factor in its durability – ultimately a long service life and therefore how efficiently a hotel is run are crucial criteria for a building’s sustainability.
Even before its completion, the jury of the International Hotel Application Award were already convinced that visitors to the Spreewald Spa Hotel would be in good hands, and gave 4a Architekten an award for the best European hotel concept. The architects place great emphasis on applying their extensive experience in atmospheric design to the concept of the hotel. The Spreewald Spa Hotel offers outstanding living quality for guests during their stay as well as functionality and therefore excellent orientation, providing an ambience of well-being with its modern design, natural building materials and great comfort. This not only creates an unforgettable experience for the guest but also guarantees the operator an efficient and consequently successful hotel business.
+ Project facts
Location: Spa Hotel Spreewald
Client: Spreewald Therme GmbH
Architect: 4a Architekten GmbH
Alexander von Salmuth
Ernst Ulrich Tillmanns
Project management: Axel Hohensteiner
Structural planning: Fischer + Friedrich
Heating, ventilation, sanitation technology: Kannewischer, Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH Beuttenmüllerstraße 30 D-76530 Baden-Baden
Electrical engineering: Planungsbüro Minati Kehrbüldeweg 22 D-32760 Detmold
Building physics: Kurz and Fischer Consultant engineers Brückenstraße 9 D-71364 Winnenden
Planning period: 02/2009 until 11/2012
Construction period: 06/2011 until 11/2012
Construction costs: 10.5 million euro net
Gross floor area: approx. 9,600 m²
Gross cubic volume: approx. 28,000 m³
Service phases (HOAI): 1 to 8
Photos: Jochen Stüber, Hamburg