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16.7.2014 – Issue 13 - WaterSteinemann RamiasEssays, Studio

The Engadine

by Ramias Steinemann

The Valley of the Engadin begins at the Maloja mountain pass with a chain of lakes running southwest to northeast: « Lej da Segl », « Lej da Silvaplauna « , and « Lej da San Murezzan » . Maloja is a watershed dividing the river « Inn » flowing via the Danube to the Black Sea and the « Maira » via the Po to the Mediterranean Sea. With the Maira to the Southwest the Val Bregagila drops precipitously down to Chiavenna in Italy while to the north east with the “Inn” the upper-engadine slowly goes down as an open valley towards St.Moritz and to the more narrow lower-engadine .


Around 1800 the southern part of Graubünden, the Veltlin being excluded from the canton. The Engadine lost with this closely linked breadbasket also its traditional way of live. Let to itself this high lying valley could not live from farming itself anymore.
An early invention to attract people or income was the reanimation oft he St.Moritz springs that had been praised already by Paracelsus in 1538. In fact, the extension of the springs had startet with the first “Kurhaus” 1815 and its enlargement in 1856. The Neue Kurhaus was the first veritable Grand Hotel in the Upper Engadin. Like the subsequent buildings of its type, the Neue Kurhaus was designed to satisfy all the requirements of a demanding clientele in a single establishment. This was one of the initial moment of tourism in the Alpine region.The sports-oriented winter tourism began in the 1880s.

The Site

Sils Maria a place , where writers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, artists such as Joseph Beuys and musicians such as David Bowie have all found inspiration in the enchanting wide-open expanses and the magical quality of the light. Located between Lake Sils and Lake Silvaplana at the foot of Piz Corvatsch and Piz da la Margna.
The site for the thermal bath is located on the river delta flowing into the lake Silvaplana. At the meeting of earth and water, the project has to be developed. Interesting ist the fact the half of the year the solid condition of water.

— As in all cases of solid, stable architecture—has to address its opposites: the liquidity and instability of the water.

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