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.
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
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.