The Wellness Sky project is the change of use and refurbishment of the existing building on Belgrade riverfront. The building named ’Danube Flower’ was built some thirty-five years ago. It used to house an exclusive restaurant which was a segment of a larger recreational center accessible to the public.
The project was sponsored by the communist government of the time and endorsed by then ubiquitous president J.B.Tito, who was the first guest at the restaurant on November 22nd 1973. It was a famed hangout spot until its decay in the nineties and its final closure which coincided with the start of the civil war in the country. For the period of fifteen years the building was not in operation and has deteriorated considerably.
With the client requested of a ‘cloud-like’ impression form the new interior. The architects have focused on the ceiling to get new looks and reorganize existing space since the existing structure from seventies was extraordinary. In many ways the building is particular but above all for its synthesis between architectural and structural reasoning. The main volume of the building, triangular in plan, is elevated some fifteen meters above the river and the ground level with the pedestrian esplanade. It is supported solely by the central core which contains two elevator shafts and double spiral staircase.
Cantilevers are reaching out some twelve meters giving a levitating feel to the building. In addition one more structural move is crucial for seamless interaction between exterior and interior of the building. Concrete floor-slab and ceiling shell are not connected at the perimeter of the building, allowing for the continuity of the glass façade to the full extent. Uninterrupted glass strip, with the total length of 150 meters, is wrapping around the building to give constant presence of the Danube River in the interior, with sweeping views reaching far out, both upstream and downstream.
Defining moment of the new spatial expression is the ceiling. Its design is the sequence of geometric transformations and subdivision applied to the original grid. As a result, approximately 390 back lit panels with the finite variation in shape and size are suspended from the triangular steel construction.
The idea was to create light and spacious space so that visitors should be getting an impression of entering a cloud on arrival. In response 4of7 have opted for reflective resin floor finishes throughout and semi translucent ceiling; both aiming to expose sleek forms of Technogym training equipment in the open plan arrangement.
Design Team: 4of7 Architecture
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Status: Completion 2006
All pics & info courtesy of www.travelwithfrankgehry.blogspot.com
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