We Are Building A Civilized Space Here
Y3K http://y3kgallery.blogspot.com 205 Young St. Fitzroy Melbourne Australia 3065
Opening Saturday 16 January 2010 Open until Saturday 6 February 2010
Wellness Architecture - despite being the name of a naturopathy clinic in Meleno Park California - is as ambiguous as any other attempt at labeling a style. Arguably the flagship examples of Wellness Architecture are Mario Botta’s Tschuggen Bergoase Wellness Centre at Arosa and Matteo Thun’s Vigilius Mountain Resort in Italy’s Alto Adige region. Botta’s - with its leaf-life skylights protruding from the mountainside under which the cool calm elemental grey surfaces of the bathing/healing pool sit - produces a complete space for the practice of wellness. The origin of the Wellness Centre is one of homemade architecture, horoscopes, ecology, bamboo screens, and chanting mantras. From the Maldives to Daylesford via Alto Adige, Wellness Architecture is a culture of homemade architecture, where seagrass matting, bamboo screening, polished river rocks and dribbling 12-volt fountains sit modestly, minimally and effortlessly within awkward and adoring architectural pastiches of Eurasian parentage, and sleek white-moulded plastic subterranean interiors of carefully lit pools and corridors are uncomfortably influenced by a combination of Japanese bathhouses and contemporary prisons. From a space where fisherman’s pants and prAna shirts T’ai Chi the rising sun, to one where crisp white shirts and black aprons serve life changing Goji Matcha tea on mirror pools overlooking coral reefs. The plain and simple nature of recent Wellness Architecture has its obvious links to modernism but it is the homemadeness of these spaces that provides the healing aura. It is not a quaint folksy homemadeness, quite the opposite in fact. Even the most amateur and frugal wellness architect relies on a history and culture of meaning constructed by a sleight of hand use of materials to produce a sensory subterfuge. This is a culture of the self-made, the self-guided. It is about changing circumstances by subscribing possibilities that are conventionally awkward and culturally irresponsible.