Credits: The architectural design and supervision of the Euphoria Retreat was a collaboration between decaARCHITECTURE and Natalia Efraimoglou & Partners. For the Euphoria Spa, which is a distinct building, the design was by decaARCHITECTURE.
The Euphoria Spa is the centerpiece of the Euphoria Retreat, located beside the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mystras. It is a four-storey building, with an area of 3.000 m2, that is carved into the base of a mountain, between town and forest. To blend into its setting, each floor is set back into the earth revealing only its facade. The shell is made of pale-red exposed concrete which is slanted and stepped, using a clapboard technique for its moldwork.
The entrance level, at the base of the building, is a constant transition of carved spaces where elliptical geometries of different scale intertwine and guide the visitor through a meandering catacomb-like passage. This passage reaches a 20-meter well, flooded with natural light, around which the building’s staircase ascends. The second level is the most complex and diverse. It is organized like the gears of a mechanical clock, where the visitor moves around alternate centers with variable degrees of humidity and temperature. The third floor contains fifteen small monastic chambers which serve as private treatment rooms. The final floor, which is in closest connection with the forest, has two large gathering spaces for classes and conferences.
The design of the Spa is meant to be at the same time peaceful and subversive, meditative and hallucinatory, orderly and free-flowing. This occurs through a choreographed transition of spaces in which light, sound, temperature, humidity, textures, materials and smells create immersive sensory experiences.