Wildfox Adventure Resort

Afan Valley

We were appointed in 2020 to develop a masterplan for a new leisure destination set in the Afan Valley. The reserved matters planning application for an Adventure Resort comprising 600no. lodges, 130-bed hotel, spa, adventure activities, restaurants and associated administration and parking gained consent in late 2022.

  • Client Wildfox Resorts - Salamanca Group
  • Services Architecture
  • Size 132.5 Hectares

the site

The site is 132.5 hectares of former forestry plantation to the north of Caerau, Afan, Port Talbot, at the southern edge of the Afan Forest Park, within the boundary of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.

the masterplan

Our proposed site plan, using our concept masterplan as its framework, delivers a resort with legible, spatial organisation to maximise the breathtaking views and natural terrain elements that the site affords. Alongside capitalising on the views, the layout is designed to weave around existing heritage assets, celebrating them and the rich history of the area in a positive manner. The proposed site plan builds upon the outline concept masterplan to create an accessible resort where a safe, legible movement framework connects all parts of the site.

 

The main activity zones and buildings “hang off” a central circulation spine that runs through the site to create a legible resort for guests to navigate. The Wildfox Piazza acts as a central focus, linking 3 of the resort’s core facility and activity buildings, reinforcing the legibility of the diagram and acting as a marker for guests as they move around the site. The large water body and associated public realm of the piazza bring together the Wildfox Hotel, Rock and Wild and Wildfox Spa. The Wildfox Mountain area is situated to the south-east of the resort site plan, close to the highest point of the site, where the downhill trails and luge runs will be created using the existing topography.

 

Nestled between the key activity zones are 4 lodge accommodation areas, connected to the spine by a series of secondary, pedestrian dominated residential roads.

 

The scheme has been developed to create buildings that have a high-quality architectural identity, each offering a unique manifestation for the different activity offerings and structures, based on the native site topography of their location. They all work positively with the site conditions to reduce groundworks enabling to a minimum – “touching the land as lightly as possible”.

 

The detailed design reflects a design approach that is very much about creating a resort with buildings that are well-integrated with their setting, using the site levels in a positive way and where the quality of the spaces between the buildings is as important as the buildings themselves.

rock and wild

The Rock and Wild building, which will contain the pool, rapids and the canyon, sits at the heart of the site in a natural bowl that allows the building to nestle into the existing land form, whilst maximising the views across the valley with a dramatic glazed facade. The idea is for the building to “grow” out of the landscape with the cladding folding over the geometric shape to create a dramatic view as the guests enter the site.

the spa

The proposed spa uses the slope to create a low lying horizontal form that elegantly sits above the watersports lake. The building appears to “float” above the water with the pools and treatment rooms stretching out of the mountain in strata-like forms. The layout affords opportunities for framed views out of the spa to celebrate the surrounding unique landscape.

the lodges

The bespoke lodges are designed to “belong” to the landscape with interiors that will afford guests with spectacular framed views over the surrounding landscape. Contemporary in form and materiality, the lodges respond to their location in the resort and the land form that they sit within. Many will have green roofs to allow them to seamlessly blend with the landscape when viewed from afar.

the hotel

The hotel sits at the heart of the site on the Wildfox Piazza that connects the main guest buildings around the central waterbody. 2 storey with parking beneath, the building cuts into the slope to handle the significant level change between the spine road and the Piazza and waterbody. The sinuous form of the bedrooms sits on the podium which provides external terraces and spaces for the restaurants and bars at piazza level.