Focussing on prefabricated and sustainable means of construction, Italian practices 3GATTI Architecture Studio and OFL Architecture have envisioned an airy forest resort and spa in the historical region of Kurzeme, Latvia. The Pinecones Resort does its name justice by the spiky cone-like units that inhabit the site, made possible through the use of an inflatable roof constructed from ETFE, a lightweight polymer film.
ETFE, or Ethylene Tetra Fluoro Ethylene, is the most extensively used material for inflatable roofing. Being 100% recyclable and having a minimal carbon footprint in terms of transportation and installation, the material is highly sustainable and in the case of this particular project, offers flexible and dynamic building forms.
Each of the units’ roofs will be inflated by an SPF sprayed Eco Foam, which is also recyclable itself and offers insulation and structural rigidity. Since the resort is primarily intended for Blue Clay treatments, an organic and naturally abundant substance in the area, the ETFE membranes will also be printed to mimic the color of the clay and surrounding forest, while invoking a softness reminiscent of the substance.
Constructed from local wood, a laminated lightweight frame will support the pneumatic roof membrane, allowing it to withstand snow loads as well. In the winter, the snow will also add to the foam’s thickness and homogeneity, by collecting on the gripped spikes, thus insulating the unit further.
The spa itself is elevated off the ground and programs are dispersed throughout the site, connected by a wooden footbridge. Winter tubs, saunas, therapy rooms and dining areas will be housed in the pinecone-inspired structures. Other green initiatives include a water filtration system, geothermal loops, and solar window technologies that all contribute to the resort’s limited environmental impact.
News via: 3GATTI.