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THERMAL GARDENS

SIRMIONE, ITALY (1996)


Located on a lush peninsula at the southern tip of Lago di Garda, the medieval town of Sirmione is a lake resort that has been famous for its hot sulfur springs since ancient Roman times. Sirmione has developed strict regulations limiting the extent of new construction, yet everincreasing numbers of tourists are expected each year. Ambasz was therefore commissioned to develop an architectural concept for a series of indoor and outdoor thermal pools, restaurants, bars, changing rooms and additional service amenities to accommodate up to 1,500 additional visitors a day, while not affecting the character of the existing garden landscape. Ambasz proposed a unique design solution that he refers to as the 'Green over the Gray.' The assorted pools and changing facilities are bermed with earth and then landscaped so that the new structures virtually disappear and the gardenlike character of the original site is completely maintained. Only a few vestiges of freestanding colonnades are allowed to remain partially visible, like modern translations of ancient ruins standing enigmatically within the landscape. In his concept of the 'Green over the Gray,' Ambasz places a very high priority on nature, and the total number of trees on the site actually increases by 15%.



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