PART II — GRADUATION WALL
A graduation wall is a long tower that is designed to evaporate a dilute salt solution into a more concentrated one. They were built in landlocked areas of Europe, common in Germany, around salt springs. The dilute solution was pumped to the top of the tower and dripped along the brushwood walls, maximizing the surface area. Water evaporated as the solution was collected below, eventually to be boiled and made into usable salt. Today they are recognized for their health benefits, and people go simply to breathe the air. Our project was to design a modern version of a one of these graduation walls.
The important thing for me was to produce a path that would be compelling to walk along even without the salt-wall superstructure. I used a combination of obscured and revealed views to provoke curiosity, and a 'three-turn' path to exaggerate the experience of distance traveled while at the same time leaving you closer to your point of departure than expected which facilitates the return trip.
PART III — BOUTIQUE HOTEL & SPA
This overnight spa (12 rooms) is situated in a quiet, secluded, densely wooded area bounded on three sides by a creek. The feeling of containment is emphasized by sinking the complex into the earth, using the walls of the buildings to create courtyards broken by sight-lines over lower retaining walls.
A version of the brushwood wall above brings visitors through the 2 acre park. It is open 24/7 to the public.
There is a spa buried under the plaza which is accessed by a descending circular ramp. The spa and pool is entirely dark, clad in dark stone, lit only by glass rods embedded in the ceiling which capture sunlight and bring it down in little specks which will twinkle as shadows passed over the courtyard.