Olot: Les Cols Pavilions (Spain)

Les Cols Pavilions

Avinguda de les Cols, 2, 17800 Olot, Girona, Spain

RCR Arquitectes (2002-5)

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 102_Stephen Varady photo ©

This may well be one of the most amazing places you will stay! Nothing I write will do justice to the experiences, and the images will only begin to describe what you will find there.

Following the completion of Les Cols Restaurant in 2002, RCR Arquitectes began designs for 5 accommodation suites, or Pavilions, to allow restaurant guests (or any visitor to Olot) the opportunity to linger and immerse themselves in the full Les Cols experience.

‘Experience’ is at the forefront of all aspects of this design, with the visitor’s senses either being heightened or challenged at every opportunity. Like all RCR projects in Olot, it is also rooted in both the natural and historic farming context of the La Garrotxa region of Catalonia, with Olot known as ‘The City of Volcanoes’.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 01_Stephen Varady photo ©

As with the restaurant, visitors arrive between the house and old farm building on the site. For the entrance to the Pavilions however, a narrow slot has been cut into one end of the rustic farm shed, with guests walking across paths of volcanic gravel into the crunching floor of the unusual reception area. This subtle inversion of interior/exterior space begins the heightening of perceptions for visitors.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 02_Stephen Varady photo ©

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Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 07_Stephen Varady photo ©

The crunching sound is a subtle signal to the staff concealed in the adjacent office that someone has entered the Reception area. Similarly, the gate from the Reception to the Pavilions makes a noise when slid open – a very simple, poetic form of security.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 12_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 13_Stephen Varady photo ©

After check-in guests are escorted through a forest of steel ‘bamboo’, along metal mesh walkways, to their rooms where they are given their electronic entry codes along with a thorough lesson in the specifics of how to ‘use’ their suite.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 18_Stephen Varady photo ©

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Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 25_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 26_Stephen Varady photo ©

Already, it is apparent how different this accommodation is. There is a duality being played here between the primitive and the sophisticated. Set between two existing old rough farm walls, the design is very much grounded in the place, the location, the context, and it is about opening to views of the trees and the sky, yet it is constructed entirely of transparent, translucent and reflective green glass and steel, in a way that seriously plays with the visitors’ perceptions of privacy. The visitor may initially feel exposed and open to view through all this glass, however the composition of elements very carefully maintains the privacy of all occupants.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 29_Stephen Varady photo ©

Inside, each suite is comprised of two layers of spaces separated by a storage zone.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 34_Stephen Varady photo ©

The first layer is the bedroom, opening onto a large courtyard at the front and a smaller one behind the bed. While the courtyards contain trees and vines (along with more of the steel ‘bamboo’), the ground surface is an artistic ‘constructed landscape’ created by the architects together with local artisans, which can also be viewed through the clear glass floors.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 31_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 39_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 48_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 50_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 32_Stephen Varady photo ©

Beside the bedroom, a services and storage zone contains wardrobe storage, fridge, toiletries and the controls for lighting, air conditioning and the 5 sets of blackout blinds for the bedroom walls and skylight.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 61_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 62_Stephen Varady photo ©

There is an additional light switch and blackout blind control on either side of the bed.

The second layer of space, the bathroom zone, is perhaps the most special.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 71_Stephen Varady photo ©

On one side is the shower and soaking bath. With the sound of constantly flowing water, the bathing area combines abstract spatial design with Japanese traditions and sensual triggers, wrapped in contemporary glass and steel (and volcanic gravel in the shower).

It is a truly unique experience!

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 73_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 75_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 76_Stephen Varady photo ©

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Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 87_Stephen Varady photo ©

On the other side is the washbasin and WC, both constructed of painted steel to match the colour of the green glass. Here, the washbasin questions convention with a constant flow of water (triggered by a movement sensor), like a flowing stream, for occupants to use. Guests are given instructions to use the local volcanic mineral water in the fridge for brushing their teeth.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 88_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 90_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 94_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 93_Stephen Varady photo ©

The soaking bath is extremely special – beautifully detailed and minimal, with entry via a single steel post and one step, and drainage carefully concealed all round.  Water temperature is a constant 37°C.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 95_Stephen Varady photo ©

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Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 103_Stephen Varady photo ©

YouTube walk-through video of Les Cols Pavilion – 28 June 2017

The Les Cols Pavilions come with a fine selection of room service items to enjoy while you immerse yourself in the experience of your accommodation.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 56_Stephen Varady photo ©

A gentle stroll allows a greater appreciation of the overall design. Glass blades along the mesh walkways allow glimpses into the private courtyards but their angle and overlap shield views of the private areas.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 105_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 106_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 107_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 108_Stephen Varady photo ©

One end of the walkway leads to another forest of steel ‘bamboo’, past the exteriors of more Pavilions…

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 110_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 112_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 114_Stephen Varady photo ©

… and on to the Les Col Restaurant market garden, where you may see some of the produce you will be served for dinner.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 117_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 119_Stephen Varady photo ©

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At the rear of the property there is an abstract interpretation of a rustic wall, facing the street, complete with concealed sliding gate for visitor’s parking.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 126_Stephen Varady photo ©

A change of weather may give you yet another layer of experience.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 129_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 128_Stephen Varady photo ©As the day ends walk once more to the Reception, and on to dinner next door.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 132_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 133_Stephen Varady photo ©

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Returning to a candle-lit, blacked-out room.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 139_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 141_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 140_Stephen Varady photo ©

Arise in the morning, pay the bill over a final espresso, accept your complimentary picnic hamper along with postcards describing the local walking trails complete with RCR watercolour sketches…

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 142_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 144_Stephen Varady photo ©

… and exit through the bright shaft of sunlight entering through the narrow entrance.

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 150_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 149_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 151_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Pavilions, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 152_Stephen Varady photo ©

 

Further Information:

Place: Les Cols Pavilions

Architect: rcr architectes or World Architects Profile

Photographer: Stephen Varady

Review:  Arch Daily (22 July 2012) and El Croquis # 138, (2007)

Map: Les Cols Pavilions

 

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