An inhabited topography



from the architects:

The building emerges from the sea, as a rock that always was there. An eroded rock, that wraps without covering, buries itself and looks. The material which the building is made of is going to age, is going to get moss, improving with time. The building breaks itself, gets to the sea, touches the sand, it gets flooded and plays with the tides.

The places deserves to be acknowledged, has a strong identity and needs an element that boosts it. An element that takes advantage from what the surroundings offer. An element that dialogues with the sea while organizes that fragment of the city. At the end, a building that creates city arises, becoming a differentiating milestone for Gijón.



The building proposes three points of view:

  1. The visitor’s approach. The building conducts them through the different spaces trying to wake their sensibility up.
  2. Dialogue with the city and its pepole. The building becomes city, setting an exemplary interaction with it, without loosing its autonomy, creating a semi-public space and at the same time a landmark for Gijon’s inhabitants.
  3. Building as sculpture.

The building answers three different needs:

Wellness area: intimacy is pursued through buried rooms, highly private, that allow a personalized use of each space. In its interior continuous areas with slender spaces, closed in themselves are bathed by indirect illumination. Inside these chambers, senses are boosted to max. Sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste are combined to ease a relaxation state into the visitor. The goal is to create an space where people have control and feel safe, protected.

Hotel: opposing the wellness area, here we find an space opened to the sea. Each room has a terrace where from the beach can be contemplated. The hotel’s disposition allows a complete independent use from the spa center. At the same time, the connection between spa and rooms is easy and comfortable.

Public Space: The building connects with the city as an extension of the sea promenade. Through a ramps system, it becomes a promenade itself that can be walked by people alien to the spa-hotel complex, without interfering with the other uses.

LocationGijon (Spain)
StudioGrupo Aranea
Dates2002 (competition)
Lead ArchitectsFrancisco Leiva, Jose Luis Campos, Jose Vicente Lillo