SHALA OF LIGHT
For a recent competition, Uli Wagner design lab was invited to design an extension for a yoga retreat in Portugal. The design concept integrated the new and existing buildings to create seamless connection between them, along with a symbiotic relationship to the lush natural surroundings.The new, building is one of three buildings arranged on the plateau. Designed to orient the visitor’s gaze onto the valley’s beautiful sunsets from the front, and framing a Zen garden along higher terrain in the rear, the landscape is central to the design. The zen garden sets the tone for the entire retreat as it welcomes guests moving through the environment. Visitors can enter from both sides via natural stone stairways. At the center of the complex there is a strategically placed airy Teahouse, featuring large glazed sliding doors in all four directions. Guests will find The Shala to the left of central Teahouse, designed with complete calm in mind, the space is equipped with a high roof to maximize oxygen circulation, and can be opened up along the glazed sliding doors to the astonishing views and fresh air. Behind the Shala changing rooms featuring high ceilings, screened entrances and wood finishes, flooded with natural light. UWDL envisaged offsite fabrication using locally sourced wood for construction, along with thoughtful elements such as brick and Portuguese grey sandstone exterior paving so that the entire retreat can be experienced barefoot in all seasons.