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Scandinavian architecture and critical regionalism | the Strøm Nordic Spa and its inspirations from around the world

26 September 2016 by Strøm Spa Nordique

Known for its Scandinavian inspiration, Strøm embraces the values of an architectural movement characterized by integrating and emphasizing the local culture in the construction, the critical regionalism.

It is under the primary influence of what is being done in Scandinavia that this style has found its way to Quebec, since the two areas share similar realities. Winter, the changing seasons and the lack of light are all influencing the lifestyle of Scandinavians and Quebecers, just like the vegetation that is particular to these two northern territories. With the critical regionalism, the architectural choices that are made take the environmental restrictions and the desire to honor nature’s diversity into consideration.

How can the material be of importance in the architectural style of the Strøm Nordic Spa?

“Using wood, with shades that are inspired by the landscapes of the Quebec winter, as well as other raw materials such as concrete or stone we are adding to the charm of the site and of nature. In the architecture of the Strøm spas, we favor a minimalist and clean geometry, quite monochrome actually but in harmony with the site. The rectangular volumes of the different buildings are set in places where they unite beautifully with the terrain. Their superposition or their intersection creates a rich architectural unity, but exudes a great simplicity at the same time, “says Pierre Mierski, associate architect of LEMAYMICHAUD.

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Inspiration – Fogo Island Inn (2013)

The work of Saunders Architecture showcases the local landscape through the use of the surrounding materials and the design of the spaces. The rooms offer panoramic ocean views, and the view is accentuated by placing the bed facing the Little Fogo Islands. Thanks to its position in the landscape and the materials chosen, the inn really becomes one with Fogo Island. The building is placed directly on the ground with no contact to the adjacent rocks, lichens and berries. The exterior siding is locally manufactured black spruce. The knowledge and essential skills of local carpenters and craftsmen were put to use during the construction, with great attention to detail and respect for the sites.

The furniture, textiles and surfaces inside the inn also remind us that we are on the western shore of Fogo Island.

Inspiration – MacKay-Lyons (2015)

Taking into consideration the seaside landscape of Nova Scotia, the houses by MacKay-Lyons present an architecture that is at the same time contemporary and consistent with its environment. They are inspired by the simplicity and authenticity of the old fishermen’s huts. Designed with local materials – such as cedar shingles – in mind, they harmonize with the surrounding landscape and preserve its very particular essence.

How does the thermal experience influence the desire to highlight the local environment?

Taking place in nature, the thermal experience at Strøm Nordic Spa enables us to experience a successful adaptation to our exterior environment in order to better live in it. The local environment is respected and highlighted: the lifestyle is constructed with the seasons in mind instead of avoiding them.

“Already during the first visits with Guillaume to the site of the future Strøm Spa in Sherbrooke, we identified the views and extraordinary perspectives that we wanted to highlight. The architecture of the baths was done in a way that the thermal experience allows to enjoy these views while taking advantage of the topography and the sun exposure of the site, “adds Mr. Mierski.

Inspiration – Azuma House (1975)

One of the earliest works of Tadao Ando in Sumiyoshi in Japan expresses that desire to build a lifestyle paying tribute to the changing of the seasons and the environment. This architect divides two spaces dedicated to the daily life with an outside patio that takes wind and luminosity into account. This walkway being the single source of natural light in these two areas creates a dynamic, lively and authentic environment.

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How is Strøm organizing an environment that allows us to enjoy and observe the changing of the seasons?

Strøm’s architecture takes the landscape, outdoor life and the changing of the seasons into consideration. The architectural work accepts and honors the winter season. It highlights the environment by making sure to offer panoramic views of the landscapes in the majority of its facilities: a Finnish sauna with a panoramic mountain view, a zero gravity room with views of the surrounding landscape, a room for aesthetic treatments with a panoramic view on the lake, etc. The choice to offer a relaxing experience in nature demonstrates the acceptance of the local environment and the changing from the milder seasons to the tougher ones.

“The primary goal of the architecture of the interior and exterior spaces of the Strøm spas is to optimize the thermal experience by emphasizing the surroundings. In Sherbrooke for example, the project along the Magog River allowed us to place a series of organic shaped baths along the river following the contour of the shore with their geometry. The thermal experience will be unique, because every bath and every outdoor area will be in symbiosis with the large body of water that is the river, “concluded Mierski.

Thank to Pierre Mierski from LEMAYMICHAUD and Hugues Lefebvre-Morasse

 

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