Professor Jeremy Ficca Adjunct Professor Eddy Man Kim
Situated within the extensive forest located next to Saco Lake in Carroll, New Hampshire, the Saco Bath House presents a study of materials and experiences unique to this project. From the view of the lake from the outlook to the sensations of the cold wind grazing across wet skin, the atmosphere and ambiance the project affords is undoubtedly exclusive to Saco Bath House.
Because the project emphasized an experiential quality, the design concentrated on materiality, space, and texture. The material palette was limited to concrete and wood, with initial studies focusing on the lightness and heaviness of both materials. From the material model studies, we generated new models which highlighted certain spatial aspects and textural qualities.
The program roughly adheres to a Roman bath house, housing a frigidarium, tepidarium, and a caldarium. However, due to the proximity of a hiking trail, the program requires a mudroom and viewing outlook to allow the bathhouse to be open and accessible to both bathers and hikers.
Culturally, many bathhouses in both Asia and Europe embrace the sensation of the movement through cold weather with bare skin. This feeling is a unique experience I thought should be incorporated into my design, thus most of this bathhouse is based outdoors. However, the circulation of the program also heeds to the pleasurable experience of the bathers and specifically has hotspots around open air circulation to maintain an enjoyable experience when moving between pools.
“Peel” was developed through the notion of a peeling of the ground to create a flexibility in the program and a blur between the boundary of what ground is and what roof is. In several parts of this design, the wooden flooring picks off of the ground to create coverage as well as provide a pathway onto higher grounds. These aspects were designed with specific curves to inform the different behaviors of the spaces. For example, the caldarium, or the hot pool, has a roof that picks up and meets the ground again on the other side like a mound. This allows the steam to create a closed-in atmosphere which highlights the enclosed intimacy of a heated pool. On the other hand, the tepidarium, or the warm pool, has a semi-permeable roof that tapers upwards due to the warm pool being a much more public space for groups and large families.