Project: Ziedlejas Wellness Resort
Architects: Open AD
Location: Ziedlejas, Latvia
Team: Zane Tetere – Sulce, Dace Bula, Zane Legzdina, Beatrise Dzerve, Alvis Petrovskis, Eva Heidingere – Jukama. In cooperation with Girts Runis, LANDSHAPE
Photo: Alvis Rozenbergs
Text by Open AD
Ziedlejas is a wellness estate with a vision. From day one this has not been a project with a clear start and end, but rather an ongoing process based on rational decision making in light of changing trends, the social and economic climate. It’s characterised by a very high level of trust between the owners, Open AD and team of landscape architects.
With a secluded location in rural Latvia, Ziedlejas Wellness Resort offers natural retreats away from the crowds. Latvian tradition and heritage is at the heart of what it stands for. Two saunas have already been completed and a third is underway. Number 1 or the ‘baltā pirts’ (white sauna) is a concrete structure built into the hillside to avoid interfering with the view from the guest cabins. It benefits from natural light and the proximity of the pond for jumping into. The design concept is based around locally sourced natural materials like wood, herbs and linen. The more primeval ‘melnā pirts’ (smoke sauna) is built from spruce and fittingly tucked into the woods. While the sauna buildings remain traditional in terms of their purpose, we made sure to enhance functionality and overall aesthetics from a contemporary design perspective.
A timely addition in 2020 were the four guest cabins in corten steel and glass. Tea houses by day and bedrooms by night, they are designed to be multifunctional. The glass front affords unspoilt views of the landscape and stars at night. Thanks to the neighbouring herb patches, guests can literally pick and mix their own herbal tea blend. Staff will happily explain the properties of each plant.
Future plans include building a central pavilion to host weddings, yoga classes, conferences, wakes and other events. The third sauna or ‘aitas vilnas pirts’ (sheep’s wool sauna) is said to have special healing properties. Another, larger building will house the reception, bicycle hire and a handful of guest rooms.
The Ziedlejas Wellness Resort story is all about maintaining Latvian heritage but not being afraid of going with the times. It is and will be a place to get a sense of the local spirit and an understanding of local ways. Guests can learn about traditions and folklore. Everything here is as local as can be with a deep respect towards craftsmanship, the environment and the growing human desire to reconnect with nature.