The location of the Thermal Bath Complex is located in Alykes of Kitros, in the prefecture of Pieria, in Greece. There, a lagoon with an interesting biodiversity is protected by the Natura institution. Its special aquatic environment creates conditions for healing tourism, since the high concentration of salt results to great buoyancy and healing mud. Thus, every summer a remarkable number of visitors from Greece and abroad, gather to benefit from these healing natural elements. In the same place the company “Alykes A.C.” manages the salt production and allows the use of the therapeutic area, while the small village of Alykes and its small fishing harbor are in a half mile distance from the lagoon.
The detailed study of the area as well as our visit helped us to identify some important issues and to reflect on them. In short the lagoon’s natural protection, the problematic pedestrian accessibility to the site and the unorganized –if not absent- tourism management, were some of the matters that came to the surface.
Aiming at the development of sustainable tourism in the area we came up with these suggested solutions:
1) Pedestrian paths that connect the lagoon with the harbor, the settlement and the thermal bath complex.
2) Mild interventions in the Natura area (paths, kiosks) joined with the aforementioned routes.
3) The creation of an integrated functional building complex, from which the part of the Bathing Facilities is analyzed in more detail.
The architectural composition and the separation of the complex’s main units were based on the bathing procedures of Hydrotherapy and Mudtherapy. Despite the fact that there are some very strict paths in the healing process, flexibility has been sought in the visitors moves by offering many alternative routes during his visit. Some of these routes are feasible through the central outdoor area that concentrates both bathing activities and places to rest. It’s important to also mention the fact that the Mudtherapy fundamentally requires an open air space, simply because its “dirty” nature cannot be easily managed in an indoors space. What’s more, the building is divided into 3 main parts: the Entrance section, the Hydrotherapy section and the Mudtherapy section that can all be easily identified by their creased, CORTEN roof, while having low height, auxiliary spaces with concrete slab roofing connecting them.
The structural system is based on a triangular order composed by isosceles triangles with 8 meter vertices that offers big open spaces and design freedom. In further detail, reinforced concrete columns of a 60cm radius are connected with metallic beams: primary double T beams with a 300mm height, secondary double T beams with a 200mm height and rectangular joists (12x6 cm), which transfer the CORTEN roof’s weight evenly. In addition, we believe that the sandy, unstable terrain of the area requires a unified underground reinforced concrete base combined with stakes for better support. So, when all these elements come together they result in a mixed material construction that forms the wavy structure.
The rest of the used materials are associated with the functionality, aesthetics, and the atmosphere of each space. The local stone on the walls of the bathing areas helps in maintaining their high temperatures entropy, while combined with the steam of the baths a special aesthetic space is created.