Zumthor: Therme Vals

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What is it:  Therme Vals (Vals, Switzerland) – by Peter Zumthor

Why its awesome: If you’re into relaxing, getting pampered and generally turning into a prune, there is no better place to do it than in this Swiss mountain bath house.  The little town of Vals is unassuming and quite small.  The main reason to go is to check out the half-buried building that invites you to stay and float around for hours at a time.  Each pool is different, and it feels like a treasure hunt as you wander from room to room looking for the next body of water.  A hot pool to get your blood flowing, a cold pool that will give you cramps in 2 seconds flat, a hidden pool that makes you feel you’re in a cave, and several social temperate pools are just part of what you’ll experience here.  Hopefully you’ll have someone with you that speaks the language, or else you’ll be in for a fun experience as you take your chances with entering the steam rooms and changing areas.  (I still don’t know if it was nude optional or nude required).  The play of light and water is truly beautiful.  All of these reasons make it one of my favorite buildings.  *Pardon my blurry pictures, but I wasn’t allowed to take photos in the bathing areas…but I’ve never let that stop me!*

For more info and additional photos, visit their website or buy a book about it.  Architects, this should be on your building bucket list.

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