La Source Bains Nordiques

Finalist for the 2008 Ordre des Architectes du Québec Awards

Located at Rawdon, in the Lanaudière area, this resort project is built on a mountainside. This unique site was the common denominator of all interventions from the start. A cliff, a forest mainly composed of hardwood trees, a stream as well as an uneven topography constituted the prevailing natural elements.

The first drafts imposed from the outset the fragmentation of the program allowing a better integration of the project to the site. The main pavilion includes the reception area, a restaurant, a relaxation area adjoining a large terrace, administrative offices, a multifunctional room, locker rooms and technical areas. A massotherapy and a relaxation pavilion complete the installations organized around pools, waterfalls and footbridges that tame the topography and wind around the stream passing through the site.

The entire project was conceived as a procession highlighting the richness of the site. The entrance is made via a long wooden footbridge overlooking the forest and passing through the treetops. At the end of the walkway, it is embedded in the volume of the reception pavilion. The sober portico, all wood, isolates the user from the site. Once in the main volume, the space opens again on the nature in a grandiose manner. The sights are framed. A spacious terrace extends the reception area towards the site and the staircase leading to the changing rooms immerses the users in the core of the forest. The relaxation and thermal spaces are designed in symbiosis with the site’s natural elements, particularly the wet sauna and its relaxing area, which are laid out like a cave, highlighting the rock that was left in the open following excavation. The exposed concrete of the structure amplifies this sensation of mineral density. The outdoor facilities are around the pavilions. They include decks used as rest areas, a fireplace area as well as warm and cold-water pools. The ponds located near the pavilions take on orthogonal shapes while the more secluded ones are organic in form. The project thus embraces the site as a whole. The use of simple lines and natural materials allows for a continuously changing spectacle to be staged; nature itself.

The project’s relationship with nature is not confined to showcasing it. Without aiming for specific ecological certification, the respect of the environment is integrated into the project through various sustainable development measures. The pavilion implantation strategy limits and controls interventions on the site; the pavilions’ orientation and shape, the window positioning and sizing.

The pavilions strategy limits and controls the interventions on the site. The orientation and the shape of the pavilions, the positioning and the dimensioning of the windows, the occultation of the glazing to limit overheating in the hot season, the optimization of the passive and radiant heating of the concrete floors and a geothermal system ensures the heating and cooling of the whole infrastructure of the pavilions and the basins.