M-Arquitectos has upgraded a popular thermal bathing attraction on Portugal’s São Miguel Island with a new timber-clad visitors’ centre and a pair of stone-lined pools .

Thermal Pools by Rodrigo Sequeira Dias Filipe

M-Arquitectos was asked to renovate services at the Poça da Dona Beija all-natural spring on São Miguel Island – the largest of the nine major islands that make up the Azores archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean.

The islands had been formed by volcanic action, and the heat from the lava underground generates a amount of warm mineral-rich springs, which are thought to have healing properties for bathers.

Thermal Pools by Rodrigo Sequeira Dias Filipe

The short for the architects was to boost accessibility to one of  São Miguel’s most common springs. They additional a walkway to connect a new visitors’ centre to the bathing pools, and also increased its capacity by constructing two basalt pools and a foot bath.

Thermal Pools by Rodrigo Sequeira Dias Filipe

Two current structures, like an old ticket workplace, were cleared from the website to make way for the new visitors’ centre.

Related story: Aim Architecture constructs spa resort about hot springs in rural Sichuan

Constructed from Japanese cedar wood, this new constructing sits seven metres away from the edge of a river, marking the entrance to the web site.


“Regenerating the present website and producing new volumes had to be in total harmony with the setting,” explained architects Fernando Monteiro, Marco Resendes and Miguel Sousa.

“Therefore, the paths, the two walkways and the wooden constructing are created of native wood,” they told Dezeen.

Thermal Pools by Rodrigo Sequeira Dias Filipe

“In terms of architectural form the new building seeks a balanced relationship with the surroundings,” they additional.

“To this finish, we proposed a developing primarily based on a parallel sense to the current south wall, and a sloped roof coated with cryptomeria – Japanese cedar – timber.”

Thermal Pools by Rodrigo Sequeira Dias Filipe

The building provides a new ticket office, toilets, storage area and a present store, as properly as an angular porch that shelters component of a walkway to the pools.

Thermal Pools by Rodrigo Sequeira Dias Filipe

The all-natural hot spring emerges inside of a cave on the site and passes into a series of pools positioned along the banks of a shallow river.

The two new pools had been added on the north financial institution, connected to the current pools on the south side by a wooden bridge. Steps lead down the cedar-clad bridge into the pools, which are set against steep and densely vegetated banks.

Thermal Pools by Rodrigo Sequeira Dias Filipe

A consistent flow of sizzling water is redirected from the spring to preserve the temperature of the pools, meaning water trickles in excess of the edge of the basalt-lined baths into the adjacent river.

Thermal Pools by Rodrigo Sequeira Dias Filipe

Floodlights nestled into the surrounding undergrowth and mounted on tall poles illuminate the pools and walkways at night.


The Azores islands sit over a triple junction in between 3 of the world’s biggest tectonic plates, and the last recorded volcanic eruption was in 1957. A quantity of Portuguese architects have created private homes on the islands – like a house consisting of a jumble of curved and rectilinear volumes and a modern concrete house slotted behind the crumbling stone walls of a ruined creating.

M-Arquitectos is based on São Miguel Island in the town of Ponta Delgada. The crew also lately finished a residence on the island, which functions 4 small blocks fanning out from its facade.

Photography is by Paulo Goulart.

Task credits:

Architects: M-Arquitectos
Architects-in-charge: Fernando Monteiro, Marco Resendes, Miguel Sousa
Collaborators: Ana Cristina Silva, Pedro Furtado, Inês Vieira Rodrigues, Rodrigo Sequira Dias, Vanessa Silva
Stability and infrastructure engineers: Ricardo Pacheco, Marco Ávila
Construction: Civil Açores

Thermal-Pools_Rodrigo-Sequeira-Dias-Filipe_dezeen_1Site program Thermal-Pools-by-Rodrigo-Sequeira-Dias-Filipe-BB_dezeen_6Visitor centre plan Thermal-Pools_Rodrigo-Sequeira-Dias-Filipe_dezeen_4Sections Dezeen


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