Page D1.1 . 14 February 2007                     
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    Bottanical Spa

    by Debra Moffitt

    The Tschuggen Bergoase spa, nestled in the mountains near St. Moritz, Switzerland, takes on a cathedral-like quality. It was designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta who is renowned for his museums and sacred spaces. In contrast to the neighboring Tschuggen Hotel, the spa wears a sleek, timeless design that signals a shift into an interior space of natural quiet.

    The setting is spectacular. Bergoase ("mountain oasis" in German) was carved into the mountainside at an elevation of 5900 feet (1,800 meters) near Arosa, a ski resort village of 2,000 inhabitants. Tall steel and glass light scoops projecting up from the spa imitate the jagged, snow-covered mountain peaks beyond, and at the same time resemble cathedral windows. A watery-blue glass bridge with white granite floors provides a transition between the sporty 1960's five-star hotel and the reception area of the spa.

    Day visitors arriving at the spa's ground floor are greeted by a different transitional space — a sober granite stairway that leads to the same reception area on the third floor. But the effect is the same: the passageways send a message that this new place is set apart from the usual world where everything clamors for attention.

    Inside the spa, the light, open space encourages quiet and reflection. Entering becomes a metaphor for taking steps inside oneself and proffers an opportunity for cherishing rare moments of meditative calm, much like one might find in a temple.   >>>

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    The Tschuggen Bergoase spa by architect Mario Botta.
    Photo: Urs Homberger

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    Tschuggen Bergoase spa, nestled in the Swiss mountains near St.
    Photo: Urs Homberger Extra Large Image


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