Design Studio SS 12

Fischauer Naturthermalbad


The thermal bath in Bad Fischau, near Wiener Neustadt, which was opened around 1900, is the subject of this design program. It is a listed ensemble whose appearance is primarily dominated by a multitude of bathing cabins. The rising open-air area is framed by a forest backdrop and includes sunbathing lawns as well as two larger outdoor swimming pools with 19 degree warm spring water. In addition, a sauna area has been added in recent years, which is also in operation during the winter. The design work will initially focus on questions relating to the expansion of the catering area and the renovation of the sanitary zones. Further on, however, concepts are to be developed that deal with the use of the site for events away from the baths and do justice to the special features of the location.


Looking at the results, the first thing that strikes the eye is the variety of proposed solutions for the initially only roughly outlined task, which retrospectively can now be seen as the starting point and initial spark for a whole series of structural and detailed considerations on the subject at hand. The desire to optimize the existing catering facilities and to improve the quality of the sanitary facilities on the current bathing area thus became an integral part of the individual plans, but in many cases was expanded by numerous more far-reaching interventions. From a functional point of view, the focus of these programmatic expansions was on questions of general access, an expansion of the cabin areas, a complete repositioning of the catering facilities with possibilities for separately managed events, a repositioning of the volleyball court and thus also a possible new playground for the green areas, as well as the creation of additional lounging and recreation areas. From a design point of view, the task was to develop a structural response, or rather a counterpart to the existing and widely known “cabin backdrop” of the baths, and at the same time to find a way to be able to assert itself within the grown ensemble of small-scale buildings with contemporary structures. It is therefore not surprising that the designs presented here reflect this decisive field of tension between integration and innovation and, from time to time, come to lie more on one side of this arc and then again on the other. In each case, it was always a matter of first discovering existing qualities and subsequently interpreting them or continuing them in a contemporary manner. In this sense, the historic cabin fronts are sometimes transformed into natural wood laths that seem to ensnare entire buildings, or the fine latticework of individual fronts is transformed into a building skin in front that lends the impression of small scale to large-format building parts.