The eco-luxury resort, situated high in the Swiss Alps about an hour outside of Lausanne, immerses its guests in the unique experience of the alpine landscape. The eighteen individual geodesic domes, called Pods, that make up the resort borrow materials and forms of the natural world to achieve structural and spiritual harmony with the surrounding ecosystem.
The pod design was inspired by the concept of Zen as well as Wu Ting movement theory, which postulates that "everything is connected, everything is energy.” The 5 movements (or type of energies) are each connected to an element; the translation to the earth, the exchange of energy to the water, the evolution of time to the wood, the inner energy to the metal, and finally the external energy to fire. The interconnectivity and the notion of ritual of the five natural elements informs both the Pods’ exterior and interior. A central circle - that conceptually represents the cycle of time - is shifted and duplicated to create a relative positioning of programmatic spaces. The wooden walls are curved to define these spaces and finished with precise details. The focal point of the primary space is a recessed bed surrounded by a tatami mat and a raised tub echoes this positioning at the core of the circular bath. Human ritual lies at the heart of Pod construction, and in the midst of breathtaking mountain views, it has become a transformative experience.
From Zen, the project traced the 5 movements of energy, finding value in how we could improve a guests' inner experience within the human-nature relationship by self-reflection as a process on being conscious of whatever is around, alive or not. The projects then translated these 5 movements as spatial studies: layout generation, water zones, materials & finishes, primary spaces vs. concealed compartments, and re-programmed space.
The discipline in which the project was designed resulted in a space that projects tranquility and immersion into surroundings. In an era where technology has heightened a continual flow of stimulation, the Zen Suite gives guests a quite reprieve.
We feel the pod design addresses the hotel’s aim at joining ‘hospitality and environmental conservation’ in creating an experience for its guests. In an effort to minimize environmental impact, the pod is raised up on a platform, leaving the landscape largely untouched. Additionally, the wood surround that contains the bathroom is prefabricated in a local carpenter’s workshop to minimize waste during production and transportation distances. The bath also uses an Ozone system to filter water, which allows the water to remain clean for several days without the use of harmful chemicals.
Montalba Architects is an award-winning practice, producing select architecture and urban design related projects by embracing a humanistic approach that considers not only a client’s needs and site considerations, but also the cultural and economic environment. With this process, solutions are realized that are contextual, yet conceptual and visionary in their intent, effect, and appeal.
A significant work of architecture expresses its purpose via physical solutions. As with any form of design, in architecture artful solutions are the goals to be sought. At Montalba Architects, these solutions are frequently inspired by our key values, which find physical expression in ways directly related to the particular client, program, and design problem.