Taboo Spa

The Taboo resort in Gravenhurst, Ontario has a proud heritage rooted in the region of Muskoka’s original wilderness hotels. Taylor Smyth’s competition entry for a stand alone spa combines a sense of luxury, creating a place to indulge and recharge in all seasons, with an appreciation for the enduring serenity and vitality of the natural setting.

Set in a shallow valley, the building is sheltered by a gently undulating living roof that evokes the topography of the sur-rounding hills and integrates the building with its environment. The curving of the sweeping path to the building transforms into a horizontal wood screen that provides sun shading for the glass walls of the building and transforms once again into a garden wall that provides privacy for outdoor pool and sun deck.

Inside, a “biowall” brings nature into the building while providing biofiltration of the air system. This wall defines the main circulation route that culminates in the lounge and views to the outdoor pool, accessible year round. A series of treatment rooms each extend out into their own private outdoor space, accessed through a wall-to-wall pivot door. Privacy is provided by a screen of randomly angled cedar slats that call to mind nearby tree trunks.


Great Gulf Group Ltd.


12,000 sq. ft.


Unbuilt Concept


Designed in 2006


Taylor Smyth Architects