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.


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