[FIRST LOOK] Sheppard Robson has designed this spa hotel and cultural retreat, including an art gallery and artists’ studios in Sopron, Hungar
Set to start on site next year (2014), the scheme at the Sopronbonfalva Monastery is described as a destination ‘that eschews the externalized trappings of the 21st century in favour of a journey to discover the inner sanctum of the self’.
The scheme will feature a hotel with guest rooms, restaurant and conferencing facilities in a ‘picturesque edge-of-town, semi-rural location’.
The architect’s view
The monastery of historical significance provides the conceptual starting point for a wholly different individual and collective experience. Everything about the retreat is intended to promote, and be totally conducive to, self-reflection, introspection, contemplation and collective well-being. The rooms, stepping down the hillside in a series of blocks, are a re-interpretation of the monastic cell, devoid of technology but not of comfort.
The experience of visiting and staying at the monastery will reflect and reinterpret the pilgrimages of those who had come to found the monastery in 1482 and those who have been coming ever since.
The underpinning concept is that of a journey starting from sensory deprivation and progressing to sensory (and social) engagement. At the heart of the project is a well-being spa. Herbs grown on site provide the raw ingredients for aroma and other therapeutic treatments and a series of sensory deprivation chambers allow you to float, weightlessly suspended in a saline solution at body temperature with absolutely nothing to distract you. From here you move onto greater degrees of engagement with your senses and of course with others.