Spirit Spa Hydrostone is an urban infill project in the historical Hydrostone district of Halifax. The project is located on a site formerly occupied by a shed, as space is at a premium in this neighbourhood.
The building is a six-storey mixed-use new construction that covers 100% of the site. The first 3 levels of the building house the new Spirit Spa location with a total 3900 square feet of usable space. The upper 4th and 5th levels hold two more commercial spaces, and a penthouse apartment can be found on the 6th level.
Built as a planned neighborhood after the devastation of the Halifax Explosion in 1917, the Hydrostone consists of grassy boulevards and row-houses constructed from special cinderblocks for which the community is named. The neighborhood was designated as a Federal Heritage Site by Parks Canada and in 2011, the Canadian Institute of Planners named the Hydrostone the Second Greatest Neighbourhood in its inaugural Great Places in Canada contest.
The structure uses ICF and pre-stressed concrete construction. Despite hugging all 4 lot lines, the project incorporates large expanses of curtain wall opening to the street, and with the use of fire shutters, provides light and views on two other aspects of the building. The exterior street elevation uses a curtain wall system for great views of the historical market and to maximize natural light as well as aluminum panels for appeal. RHAD Architects was responsible for all schematic design of the base building, along with all aspects of the interior fit-up for the upper apartment and the three-level spa including all finishes, retail displays, cabinetry, electrical specs, fixtures, furnishings, branding, signage and wayfinding.
The first level of the spa is home to the retail and reception area and features a soaring double-height atrium in the mani-pedi zone with the goal of letting in as much natural light and volume to the small plan, which would otherwise feel limited. The mani-pedi zone features a “wood wrap” that starts over the retail space and wraps around the makeup zone to become the floor of the mani-pedi area, creating a cohesive element that stitches spa elements together.
The second floor features a catwalk overlooking the atrium which takes you to the hair studio, featuring a panoramic view of the historic Hydrostone Market buildings and park. The salon also features custom hair station millwork designed to disappear as simply reflections of light and park. Being the noisiest part of the spa, considerations were made to ensure adequate sound reduction to not disturb other spa clients, including a glass partition wall separating it from the rest of the spa, and its strategic placement away from the private treatment rooms. Treatment rooms are located on the third floor, away from all other services allowing for an immersive experience. The tranquility lounge also offers views of the historic Hydrostone Market and park. The material palette uses calming tones that facilitate a tranquil atmosphere, brightening the space, making it feel much grander.