Assignment 2: Precedent, Program, and the Experience of Place


“Standing Water – Precedent, Program, and the Experience of Place”

An analytical and representational study of an existing (and/or historical) bath house – its program, place, and experience.

– analyze the program, place, context, function, and architecture of a precedent bath house
– explore graphic representations of program and sequence
– develop representational strategies for expressing water, light, weight, material, experience, and atmosphere
– communicate programmatic complexity and specificity in the context of an annotated and illuminated drawing set

With a partner, you are to research the content, context, culture and space of a precedent bath house (chosen from the following):

Baths of Caracalla – Thermae di Caracalla – Rome, Italy
Baths of Diocletian – Thermae di Diocletian – Rome, Italy
Stabian Baths – Pompeii, Italy
Hadrian’s Large Bath Complex – Tivoli, Italy
Cemberlitas Hamami – Istanbul, Turkey
Bath C at Antioch – Antakya, Turkey
Jacob Riis Public Bath House – New York City, USA
Ginzan Hot Spring Fujiya Inn – Yamagata, Japan
Moku Moku Yu Public Bath – Kobuchizawa, Yamanashi, Japan
Blue Lagoon Clinic and Spa – Grindavik, Iceland
Therme Bad Aibling – Bad Aibling, Germany
Le Bain des Docks – Le Havre, France
Wellness Center Berg Oase – Arosa, Switzerland
Terme Vals – Vals, Graubunden, Switzerland

1.     Compile and analyze drawings, readings, and historical and contemporary written accounts of the precedent bathhouse. You will need orthographic drawings (plans and sections) and a deep understanding of the function and sequence of the varied spaces in and around the bath complex (which will require more than just looking at drawings, you’ll need to read accounts or descriptions of experience). The goal here is to understand both the space and program thoroughly.
2.     Select (or cut) critical plans and sections that will be a framework for elucidating the experience, program, and sequence of the bath. Keep in mind you may need to extrapolate specific orthographic drawings from a variety of piecemeal or incomplete sources – be creative in your research and use other similar bathhouses as supporting references.
3.     Define and refine a representational language to communicate the experience, materiality, light, temperature, visibility of the specific spaces and sequence of the bathhouse.
4.     Deliver annotated and illuminated drawings at 3/8″=1’0” which communicate both the experience and the program of the precedent bath house/complex.


W 30 Jan –  Lecture: Baths, Bathing, and the Body; Project assigned – select precedent bath and project partner
F 01 Feb –  First research compiled
M 04 Feb –  First draft of an annotated and illuminated sections and plans
W 06 Feb –  Lecture: Program Typology; Second draft of annotated and illuminated sections and plans

F 08 Feb –  Final drawings in progress – printed at delivery size for pre-final review
M 11 Feb –  Final review

a.   How did (or does) the cultural context of the precedent project influence the program of the bath?
b.   What are the primary, secondary, tertiary (etc) spaces and places of the bath house/complex?
c.   How does the bath house/complex operate as a sequential experience?
d.   How does the bath house/complex operate as a container for water? As a processor of water?
e.   What are the materials, assemblies, and finishes of the bath? How do they affect function and atmosphere?

3/8″=1’0” scale sections (min. 2) of critical bath house sections.
3/8″=1’0” scale plans of critical bath house plans
Drawings should illuminate the atmospheric and physical quality of water, light, weight, material and experience, and annotate the programmatic and spatial arrangement/sequence of the complex.


VESSEL review

Evening all – Hope all the vessels have been successfully cast by now, and that the photo essays/digital slideshows are coming together as the concrete rests in its mold.   Based on the energy that we saw in M&M on Friday and over the weekend, I’m sure tomorrow will be an exceptional exhibition.

By 1:45, all Vessels should be in their place and ready for display.  We have Upper Core reserved for our review, and if your Vessel does not have a more specific context either within Crown Hall or outside of Crown Hall, please bring your Vessel there, and place it generally in the vicinity of the location where you have you typical studio final or midterm reviews.  That map can be referenced on previous blog posts if necessary.    When setting up, please be very considerate of the premises.  The vessels are obviously heavy, and one misstep could damage a wall, or floor or stair.  Do take care in moving the Vessels from point A to point B, and then back again.

The format for the review tomorrow will be in two parts.

We will commence promptly at 2pm in our individual studio groups.  Those groups will meet in Upper Core in our designated areas, or in the location identified to you by your individual studio professor, and we will have an hour-long ‘in-studio’ review of the Vessels.  After the in-studio review, we will then commence a studio wide gallery review.

At that time, and for approximately two hours, the professors will tour the remaining vessels individually (or in small groups) and critique, ask questions, watch slideshows, etc.   Your team’s responsibility will be to have at least one team member stationed at your vessel for the entire remaining period of the review to present the project.  During that time, we encourage you to split up and take turns touring the gallery to see all of the final Vessels as well.

At the end of the review, you will be responsible for removing your Vessels from Upper Core and returning them to studio. Any concrete debris, remnant, dust or otherwise must be cleaned from Upper Core at that time.

And then lastly –

photo (3)

The first thing we want to say about this is “Holy Crap!”  The second thing we want to say about this is “Nice Work!”  And the third thing we NEED to say about this is that “if we don’t get this place straightened up by morning, we risk damaging our integrity to our allies in the shop who have made this entire exercise possible. ”   Seriously.  Everyone knew what we were getting into when we said we were going to cast concrete in the shop, and we have been realistic about how clean you can keep a place during this kind of effort.  And with a few notes and reminders along the way, you’ve been doing fine keeping the mess in check.  John and Mike in the shop have been huge supporters of this exercise thus far through the purchase of casting materials and the use of ALL the tools, but based on this photo, we have again overstepped our bounds in M&M with this effort.  It’s awesome, but it’s also a complete mess.  Let’s get the place cleaned up immediately and return the shop to normal so that it can go back to being for everyone else in the school and not just ours.

We really don’t want to be begging for forgiveness tomorrow.  Instead, let’s brag about our success.  To do so – First thing tomorrow, I need EVERYONE to chip in and clean M&M.  Strip your concrete forms and dispose of them.  Return all tools to their rightful place and clean them, if necessary, along the way.   All excess concrete raw material can be placed on the south side of the shop along the curtain wall where the casting material was placed for the workshop.  Mixing tubs, shovels, trowels, etc should all be returned to the state we found them in and placed in the same area.  All Vessels should be moved to Crown and all Casting Workshop studies/samples should be moved to your studios (and marked with the necessary information).  The areas where casting took place should be swept of debris, and tables should be similarly cleaned.  The tables can be returned to their orderly locations.

And at 1:45, the studio professors will be in M&M to review the completed effort.

To steal a line from Misses Hannigan, “It should shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.”   Well perhaps ‘shine’ is the wrong term.  Instead, we would settle for being able to see the floor through the sea of clamps….  Thank you all in advance for the cooperation – and thanks, as well, for the effort.

We really cant wait to see these tomorrow.