The Bath House
In the final project we were tasked with designing a bath house that followed or at least was inspired by a classic bathing tradition. The site was based in the West End of Glasgow, in a valley containing the remains of an old flint mill and a river.
During the site visit I looked at the way people were interacting with the ruins, it seemed to bring the child out from in us. We all climbed along the disjointed walls and ran from place to place to discover the ins and outs of our site. I wanted to take this kind of ethos into my building.
The idea was primarily spurred by holes that cut through the ruins which brought me back to the memory of exploring underwater sea caves with my family. And I thought up how to create pools that created different atmospheres and could be accessed by land and water. The primary plaster model showcases how I wished to lay this out and I felt plaster was a good medium because it gave the feeling of the pools being carved out of the bed rock and sinking into the hill.
I wanted the building to be sympathetic to the terrace behind it so I created a small top layer based on vernacular architecture and the rest of the building below imbedded into the landscape decided to give it the aesthetics of a simple cottage similar to that of the original flint mill but with a twist. I created a view through the building into the valley with a large glass gateway, I also sliced away half of the classic shape to provide a roof terrace with the glass façade being fully operable with folding doors to be enjoyed by the patrons of the small cafe.
To also give homage to the history if the site, I imagined the building to be made from flint, being complimented by weathered steel roofs. I also wanted the building to mirror the ruins in appearance, with the heights of the walls protruding from the hill and grass roofs reclaiming the building with time also creating a natural parliament to the site. The building also takes advantage of nature with the positioning of trees. Some of the south facing facades will be shaded in summer by the pre-existing trees to prevent over heating and the large thermal mass throughout the building should help to regulate temperature. The exposed facades are those of the hot rooms in the bath house such as; the pool, steam room and sauna.
The bath house is loosely based on the hammam bathing tradition of; dry hot room, steam room, massage, cold washing and all followed by rehydrating mint tea. The first hot area provides seating in oversized and a ramp for accessibility. The steam area in comparison to the dark partially submerged dry area is bright and open and uses the grinding stones from the ruins as areas for seating and massaging. Underneath, the lower pools have three stages starting with the bright open pool, intermediate area and then the fully enclosed area which is a reflective space with a sky light providing beautiful reflections in the pool giving the sense of almost being in a wishing well. After all this there is an assent up the spiral stair case back into the changing rooms where lockers can be accessed from both sides. The large skylight was also reminiscent of the chimneys in the flint mills further contextualising the ruins.