The new wellness and sports centre Zlatibor Spa is an extension of the existing hotel Palisad in the very centre of Zlatibor. The mountain town has a rich tradition and the existing hotel is among the more distinct in the area. In the past couple of years, the residential part of the hotel has been thoroughly refurbished. In light of this, the owner wishes to enhance the hotel's services with a programme that would attract guests to stay throughout the whole year. The new extension consists chiefly of a spa and sports centre which can also host congress events and other large gatherings. Also envisaged is a refurbishment of the restaurant, the construction of additional hotel rooms, and a comprehensive redesign of the communications and flow of users through the complex.
Zlatibor Spa is a relatively large building, at odds with the scale of the typical rural buildings in the area and the large residential part of the hotel. In siting it, the first task was to remove and reorganise some of the abandoned technical and service buildings. The building's placement allows it to adjoin the existing hotel reception, redefining the communication inside the complex. The entrances for hotel guests and outside visitors are strictly separated. The introverted atriums divide the outdoor space of each of the different programmes inside the complex into smaller private areas.
Despite its large size, the new wellness centre seeks to relate to the smaller scale of the surrounding area. The large mass of the building is subdivided into numerous smaller segments. The folding structure of the facade is partially open and allows for framed views of the forest from the inside. The attractive folded roof surfaces are anchored in the ground, inspired by the thatched roof scale typical of the area.
One of the key guidelines in designing the building was to maintain as much of the existing pine forest as possible. To this effect, the new building is abstracted from the surrounding area with lush greenery and is seen by the observer in separate sequences that appear between tree trunks. Nevertheless, due to its unique programme, the building beckons to be seen, which provides the rationale for the slightly more expressive exterior form and materiality of the structure. Because of the white cladding, the building still succeeds in engaging with the passers-by despite being mostly hidden in the trees. The white colour in combination with the attractive form creates a recognisable landmark that duly outshines the adjacent hotel facilities and gives the complex a distinct appearance.
The expressive exterior is contrasted by a warm wood interior. The interior is designed as one fluid connected space which opens up to the smaller atriums and framed views of the forest landscape outside. The smaller scale of the structural envelope and interior cladding approaches the human scale. At the same time, the highly structured interior addresses the acoustic requirements, which are of great importance in a space with large, sound-reflecting water bodies.