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Reconversion of the former Thermal Baths, Spa

Restoration and new addition of the former Thermal Baths of Spa

 

Since the construction of the new spa complex on the heights of the city, the historic thermal baths building (arch. Léon Suys - 1868) has fallen into disuse. Thanks to its ideal location next to the magnificent cultural center and the casino (arch. Alban Chambon - 1908), and the beautiful view onto the surrounding hills, the building occupies a special place in the city centre and offers many possibilities. The building is listed heritage and has been selected  ‘Patrimoine exceptionnel‘ by the Walloon Region.

The mission is multiple and includes both the design of the renovation, the implementation and the operation of the building of the Anciens Thermes for multiple functions including a luxury hotel, a wellness center, a restaurant, a car park, shops and several apartments. The "DBFM" model implies that the various partners – design team, investors, contractors and operators - work in close collaboration for the development of the project.

After the demolition of the additions, the historic structure of the building, constructed symmetrically around a central axis, is being restored in order to integrate light and transparency at the heart of the project. The interiors of the majestic entrance hall and lounges are restored to their former glory. The entrance to the hotel is relocated at the back of the building, where once there already was an entrance to the Thermal Baths. Léon Suys' ‘double-sided principle’ is thus put back in place. On a larger scale, the building block is redefined as next to the ‘rue Servais’ a new building is being positioned in the street alignment which enables the creation of a patio in the heart of the block, making the link between the historic building and the new construction.

From a technical point of view, respecting the water table (restricted area for the collection of drinking water) is a major issue, because the programme is becoming denser and requires more underground space than in the historical situation. Careful consideration of all real needs and a suitable foundation - depending on the highly acidic groundwater - are decisive in this regard.

The project to reconvert the ‘Anciens Thermes’ is a project developed with a sustainable, long-term vision. The project brings the old prestige and symbolism of the thermal baths back to the historic city centre in an integral vision for the 21st century. And, in parallel with the redevelopment project of the ‘Anciens Thermes’, a serial international nomination procedure as UNESCO World Heritage has been launched with the name “Great Spas of Europe”.

 

Client: Stad Spa

Investors: Foremost Immo

Design team: SumProject & Barbara Van der Wee Architects

Engineering: Arcade Engineering

Consultants: Matriciel, Greisch

Operator: Meritsa Group

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