Istisu Thermal SPA Resort

  • Prize
    Winner in Architectural Design Resort – Midscale & Lifestyle
  • Company/Firm
    Upa Italia by Paolo Lettieri Architects
  • Lead Designer
    Paolo Lettieri
  • Architect
    Paolo Lettieri, Aswan Zubaidi, Marco Corazza (competition)
  • Interior Designer
    Paolo Lettieri, Sahar A Yousif
  • Photo Credit
    UPA Italia
  • Location
    Istisu, Kalbajar, Azerbaijan
  • Project Date

The Mountain Resort, located at 2300m above sea level, is made up of a 144-room hotel with wellness centre, 3 restaurants, services like cinema, multi-function room, games room, cigar room, bars and lounges, nursery. The thermal - medical SPA is equipped with thermal and fresh water pools, saunas, Turkish baths, cabins for treatments. The resort also has 10 guest villas with private spa and pool; furthermore, in the complex there are also accommodations for the staff.
The beautiful landscapes and pristine mountains of the Kalbajar region served as inspiration for the design of the spa resort. The idea is not to change the spirit of the places and to add what is strictly necessary to have a modern, high-quality spa center and services surrounded by nature.
The new buildings envisaged by the project were mainly positioned where the disused buildings of the old Soviet Sanatorium already existed and the streets of the resort follow the existing road system.
The organic and naturalistic approach was also adopted in the design of the main building, the hotel: the profile of the hotel recalls the shape of the mountain with a deliberately asymmetrical and iconic design.

UPA Italia in Milan was founded in 2009 by architects Paolo Lettieri and Aswan Zubaidi and it is part of the UPA - Urbanism Planning Architecture group with offices in Milan, Abu Dhabi, Baghdad.
The design philosophy of the studio is based on an organic approach and multiculturalism, always taking into consideration the Genius Locis: we think that architecture must arise from the conditions, culture and needs of the place.
The studio has worked in UAE, Italy, Iraq, Jordan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia on hospitality, healthcare, educational and residential projects.

Other prizes
Arabian Property Awards - Abu Dhabi Ladies Club - 2023 Architecture Masterprize - VGIK Auditorium, Moscow - Honorable Mention - 2020 IDA Design Awards - VGIK Auditorium, Moscow - Bronze - 2020 Luxury Lifestyle Awards - The 15 Best Luxury Architect and Interior Design Studios in Milan, Italy - 2020 LEAF Awards - Al Qasim Green University, Iraq - Shortlisted Project - 2014