Alfonso Architects’ Hidden Grotto in the Heart of Florida: Acqua Pietra Spa

Acqua Pietra, translated literally from the Italian means ‘Water Stone’, but another more fitting  interpretation of the Italian  ‘pietra’ is ‘jewel’ or ‘gemstone’. And, a jewel in the very heart of Florida is what internationally acclaimed Tampa-based architect  and artist Alberto Alfonso of Alfonso Architects, Inc has designed at the newly opened Acqua Pietra spa located at the Streamsong Golf & Spa resort in Streamsong, Florida.

Acqua Pietra spa and salon at Streamsong Golf & Spa Resort - Design by Alberto Alfonso of Alfonso Architects, Inc | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Wall plaque at AcquaPietra spa with three distinct blocks of intriguing hieroglyphics each depicting an important design element used by the architect on this project: Top to bottom in Italian: Sopra, Ponte and Sotto. Translated to English: Over, Bridge and Under.

The Architect Studies and Sketches the Story of the Land Time Had Forgotten

In preparation for designing the Mosaic Company’s Streamsong Resort‘s lodge, spa and restaurants, Alberto walked the land, sketch pad and watercolors in hand carefully listening to the story this land had to share with him.  This newly reclaimed and and beautifully restored land (thanks to the efforts of The Mosaic Company) which once  had been mined for its precious phosphate, and which millions of years ago found itself submerged underwater as part of the prehistoric oceans – had many tales to tell.

Alberto studied the landscape and visually listened to the land’s geological history. A story that found what is now Streamsong, Florida  “submerged in warm waters sheltering prehistoric marine life. Hornless rhinos and humpless camels wandered the shores. Their bones settled into deeply layered sediments, creating massive phosphate rock deposits.”  This land of great phosphate reserves eventually became known as “Bone Valley”, and this is where the inspirational design story of Streamsong as we now know it begins.  “The history of the land,” inspired Alberto to design, ” a vertical stacking program for the lodge that is reflected in four layers: Submersion (under water), Bank (where water meets land), Canopy (a sheltered aviary home at the top of the trees), and Sky.”

Watercolor Memories: The Artist Captures the Geological Inspiration for AcquaPietra

Architect Alberto Alfonso watercolor drawing of Acqua Pietra spa at Streamsong Resort. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Watercolor drawing of Streamsong’s Acqua Pietra spa designed by architect and artist, Alberto Alfonso depicts columns inspired by petrified trees clustered around therapeutic pools.

The  7,000 square foot AcquaPietra spa is in the ‘Submersion’ level (see watercolor sketch above) which is representative of the prehistoric landscape that once was covered by warm, ocean waters. On this level, “Massive concrete “petrified” tree columns emerge” from the earth and find themselves gracefully  intertwining with soothing blue therapeutic pools.

The Acqua Pietra Spa  Photo Gallery
acqua pietra spa salon Streamsong Golf Spa Resort Design Alberto Alfonso Architects  (164)

Alberto’s vision for the spa at Streamsong was that of a centuries old grotto organically carved out of the ancient earth and filled with thermal pools.

Intimate space at the Acqua Pietra spa - a place to restore, and replenish mind, body and soul. Streamsong Golf Spa Resort Design Alberto Alfonso Architects  | The Decorating Diva,LLC

Intimate space at the Acqua Pietra spa – a place to restore and replenish mind, body and soul.

The sparkling blue waters of the therapeutic pools of AcquaPietra spa cast a  Streamsong Golf Spa Resort Design Alberto Alfonso Architects  | The Decorating Diva, LLC

The sparkling blue waters of the therapeutic pools at the AcquaPietra spa cast a spellbinding charm offering the promise of relaxation and serenity.

Mystical and enchanting light enters through a window 'carved' from the spa's grotto-like wall at Acqua Pietra spa salon Streamsong Golf Spa Resort Design Alberto Alfonso Architects  | The Decorating Diva,LLC

Mystical and enchanting light enters through a window ‘carved’ from the spa’s grotto-like wall.

Solemn serenity reigns in this almost monastic corner of the AcquaPietra Spa at Streamsong Golf Spa Resort Design Alberto Alfonso Architects  | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Solemn serenity reigns in this almost monastic corner of the AcquaPietra Spa as streams of light fall gracefully around the therapeutic pool.

Sunlight streaming across the tiled floors acqua pietra spa salon Streamsong Golf Spa Resort Design Alberto Alfonso Architects  | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Sunlight streaming across the tiled floors meeting with strong shadows creates a fascinating architectural tribute to chiaroscuro.

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