Since Peter Zumthor transformed his thermal baths in 1996, the village of Vals, in the Swiss Alps, has become a legendary destination for architecture lovers. Slow life enthusiasts like to combine the joys of skiing and hot baths.
By Olivier Reneau (text) and Michel Figuet (photos) for Le Figaro Magazine.
There are a few secluded destinations which, through architectural intervention, have suddenly found themselves as the ultimate tourist experience to be had. Vals is undoubtedly, alongside Naoshima in Japan, Marfa in Texas or even Harads in Swedish Lapland, one of those artistic-tourist spots that one promises to visit at least once in one’s life.
Vals is not on the other side of the world, however. Right at the bottom of a valley in the Grisons in Switzerland, at an altitude of 1250 meters, where the Rhine partly begins. This village of a thousand souls, and as many cows it is said, lived far from any media coverage until 1996, when the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor delivered the new building of the Vals thermal baths. An architecture that seems to spring from the mountain, composed of 60,000 blocks of quartzite, the aesthetic load of which transcends the benefits of a bath. Undoubtedly, this achievement will have