Body Erosion bathhouse
2017 | Academic
Professor Nerea Feliz
This bathhouse, a contemporary of the Roman and Turkish bathhouses designed for public bathing, sits in the top two floors of the Hotel Van Zandt, a boutique hotel in downtown Austin, Texas. The program requires varying bathing experiences and pools, as well as spa treatment rooms and necessary offices, locker-rooms and storage.
A bathhouse has two main elements that come in contact with the material of which it is made of- water and the human body. Using these two items as agents of erosion, Body Erosion bathhouse responds to three different scales- water, the body, and the hand. The bathhouse is about celebrating the human body and its unique experience with surface. When one comes to the bathhouse they find their place in the different moments that are carefully crafted to accentuate the different sizes of the human body, and experience moments of similarity that celebrate commonalities between people. As people experience surfaces that match their body, they begin to relax and stresses erode.
Stemming from small tiles that are about support and intimacy, the concept of shaping architecture to the human experience guides the premise of the design. The intimacy comes from the tailored shapes of the insertions, designed to fit like a garment. Intimacy with the building also involves texture and temperature, evident in the change in material and surface temperature when going from the tiled surfaces to the larger moments designed for the whole body. The tile itself serves as a grid, to give scale and allow for organization, while allowing the small moments to sit within the grid. The larger moments designed for the whole body shift off the grid and are used as modular chunks, allowing for the sequencing of moments into bands that facilitate circulation, both from band to band and vertically through the space. Sectionally, the moments are organized based off of view- seeing the human body in abstract ways in order to highlight its form- and accessibility, as the bathhouse is about the inclusion and celebration of all different body types.