Orchard Spa is on the western edge of ‘The Lakes by yoo’ a holiday home development in 650 acres of regenerated landscape near the Cotswolds, which is being reclaimed for sustainable development, amenity and biodiversity. Located on the boundary of the estate alongside a functioning gravel works, Orchard Spa is an oasis of calm in the proximity of an operational industrial works. It is a private spa for residents of the estate and has been designed for them to use as if the facilities – including a 20m pool, children’s play pool, gym, sauna, steam, treatment and clubrooms – were in their own home.
The volume, footprint and proportion of the new building are informed by the single-storey steel-frame portal shed that occupied the site originally. Retaining the shed as a typology was a central design concept to establish a functional context for the spa as well as create an interesting tension between its industrial heritage and the modern relaxation aesthetic of the spa.
Large glazed screens blur the relationship between inside and the landscaped ground outside to create a sense of a ‘spa in nature’. Basalt tiles and Siberian larch cladding on the outside of the building extend to the interior of the spa, giving visual continuity inside and out. A slide-away corner in the pool hall opens up views of the lakeside.
Modern detailing and natural materials have been specified throughout to enhance the restorative and tactile experience of the spa. All visible signs of the workings of the building have been concealed to create a feeling of seamless material and spatial clarity. Externally services are concealed within the profile of the barn and internally, a stretched-fabric ceiling in the pool hall acts as a vapour barrier and acoustic dampener, as well as a veil for air handling ducts. The infinity edge of the pool creates a reflective plane that broadcasts a tranquil acoustic trickle resulting in the gravel bagging plant beyond being scarcely audible.
The spa combines a sense of peace with the social needs of families on the development. The social hub of the spa is the clubroom, which overlooks the pool and orchard from the entrance. Enhanced with an interior and furniture specifically designed by the practice to ensure a unified look, It acts as a common room and gathering space for residents, creating a shared living space with a library, Wi-Fi, coffee/tea making facilities, a pool table and board games. The success of the project is illustrated by the extent to which families regularly use this space as an extension of their own homes.