STAG E 3
Newcastle University William Mansell Academic Portfolio BA (Hons) Architecture 2016/17
“To bathe is to fall into step with your biological rhythms: in and out breathing, the speed of blood coursing through your veins, the slowness of tiredness… The mechanical world of objective time – seconds, minutes, hours – is irrelevant here.”
- LEONARD KOREN, CREATOR OF WET MAGAZINE
AP O LOGI A
CH AR R E T T E
GRADUAT I O N P R OJE CT: P R I ME R
A COASTAL R E TREAT
S OAK ST E AM DREA M
AMB LE P U B LI C BATHS
I N T E GRATE D TE CH N OLOGY
Pages with new work indicated as
(Latin: “Have a good bath”)
AP O LOGI A
Having reached a high level of confidence in my own ability at the end of second year, I eagerly awaited the chance to create more ambitious work this year and improve my design and representational skills. Whilst interesting, the unconventional approach our studio made towards primer meant I struggled during the early stages of this year. The lack of true â€˜architecturalâ€™ design output was daunting when compared with the other studios in the year. However, I now see the value in exploring new design methods and ultimately it laid the foundations for an interesting and fulfilling graduate project. After studying fine art at school, the opportunity to draw, paint and collage was liberating. An element of my third year at Newcastle which felt extremely rewarding was the writing of the dissertation. Being allowed to explore architecture through
something that excites me (musical using a visual theme to tie my project recording), created a new personal together. enjoyment in studying architectural writing and history. In retrospect, I can see a dramatic improvement in both design thinking Throughout the year I truly began to and representational output between immerse myself in architectural theory my second and third years at Newcastle. and writing by my own volition. Without realising one begins to pick I became heavily interested in up new skills through practise and conceptual architecture and the discussion with course peers and tutors. experimental modernist groups of the The lessons I have learned during these mid-twentieth century. I delved into three years have been invaluable and Reyner Banhamâ€™s work, particularly I know with conviction they will be of Theory and Design in the First Machine benefit in the future. Age and Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies. The work of Lebbeus Woods and Archigram, as well as the book Visionary Architecture by Neil Spiller have significantly influenced my design process and, whilst visually not wholly apparent, my designs themselves. Before my final year I would not have been able to say that I work in a particular style, but by the end of the graduation project I felt comfortable in
CH AR R E T T E
During charrette week we were tasked with designing a ‘noise-making machine’. Using scavenged found materials, including a wooden drum, a metal chain and an old university railing, we built a contraption whereby the chain was drawn over the railings to generate loud rattling sounds.
It was particularly fulfilling to have designed something robust and simple which actually worked, when many other groups‘ more ambitious machines never reached fruition. The idea of using ‘found materials’ is something I continued into my primer collage.
GAFI A ST U DI O OUTLINE:
Getting Away From It All (GAFIA) Run by Colin Ross and Michael Simpson, GAFIA is interested in an interdisciplinary approach to design. Favouring exploration at different scales and through other disciplines such as art, landscape and product design over a linear, traditional design method, we were tasked with creating a retreat on the Northumberland coastline. The studio is informed by crosspractitioners such as Hussein Chalayan, Le Corbusier or Rennie Mackintosh.
fig.x: GAFIA final exhibition
OL O C
GY Theory & Concept
E G LA L O
ST U DI O DE SI GN AP P ROAC H
CONVENTIONA L A PPROAC H
At this stage a little more should be said about GAFIAâ€™s approach to design and how this began to shape my project. Rather than approaching the idea of design methodically and in a linear manner (setting each step out at the start of the project and proceeding in a pre-determined way), GAFIA sought to encircle the project and approach it from multiple angles all at once, gradually exploring and dispensing with ideas until a solution had been condensed from the research.
embrace this form of design. The primer was run in two parallel strands, simultaneously working on a large three-dimensional collage and typology studies. The two strands would meet at the end and begin to inform the next step in the graduate project: staging.
Ultimately GAFIAâ€™s approach led to production of a diverse selection of work, ranging from the detailed design of a sauna booth, to the production Whilst this feeds the designers fancies of large ink drawings. It was from this and allows for exploration of many multitude of outputs that I began to different subjects, it is by its very nature fully understand how my graduate disorganised and chaotic. Only by project could progress. the end of the year did I truly begin to
OUR A PPROAC H
R E LI GI ON & R E TR E AT
Lindisfarne Priory Flying Arch section
Lindisfarne Priory Flying Arch atmospheric drawing
In typology I was given the subject of religion & retreat, and a personal fascination with Lindisfarne Priory led me to study it for much of the duration. We were asked to explore a new theme each week, and the drawings above illustrate how I responded to the light, form and volume of a religious typology.
AR CH TYP OLOGY
Early studies of Lindisfarne made it apparent that my fascination with the architecture lay in its use of arches. I therefore set out to collect precedents and create studies of arch typologies, contemplating the role they take as symbolical gateways to a religious retreat. This research was exceedingly beneficial during the later stages of the graduation project when designing arched facades and arcades.
ST. ALDH E LMS
After visiting St. Aldhelms chapel in Dorset before the year began, I used it as a reference point for studying the effect that moving from outside to inside a space can have. The building itself is a squat, stone construction and upon entering the interior youâ€™re immediately sheltered from the outside world and drawn into a cold and dark atmosphere.
Contemplating lifeâ€™s tempo
I N T E R R U PTE D I N K Faster...
During the primer we were asked to design a physical model which represented our theme of religion and retreat. â€˜Interrupted Inkâ€™ was our interpretation of the feelings one may have whilst in a religious retreat. Whilst retreated daily life and the perception of time may seem to slow to the protagonist, outside life continues at the same speed it always does.
Different materials can be entered into a plastic slot, after which ink is poured down through it. The speed of the ink metaphorically represents the speeding up and slowing down of time. Different materials will generate different speed changes, and create different patterns of ink upon withdrawal.
Running simultaneously to the typology, the collage side revolved around the amalgamation of numerous layers of architectural interpretation on a wooden board; every week a theme would dictate the type of output generated. The collage was intended to be three dimensional and exhibit as many skills and forms of making as possible. Early sketch models and explorations can be seen to the right.
During the process I used acrylic painting, paper folding and found object collage to narrate my research into the history of Northumbria and Amble.
Preparation & Priming
Intersection of ‘sand and surf’
Drawing from the collage... I particularly enjoyed the collage project, not least because I was able to return to the landscape painting that I had studied at school. Designing a coastal retreat for Northumbria necessitates the study of the local landscape in detail, so whilst the collage may not appear particularly architectural it informs the viewer of the historical and rural background for the project. The use of collage was a technique I continued throughout the year, especially during the exploratory staging process. During final renders I also began to experiment with using characters from wide ranging historical backgrounds to alter the feel of the representations. The collage was integral in setting the tone for the rest of the project. I personally believe it is one of the sole reasons why it became so artistically oriented.
fig.x: Final collage
Finally, the collage process was the first point during which I began to research Amble and its history. Whilst I briefly transferred my attention to another coastal town, Whitley Bay, I would ultimately return to Amble and use it as the situation for my final project.
Whitley Bay 1957/2017
A COASTAL RETREAT
My early investigations centred on studying the coastal town of Whitley Bay, and whether visionary architecture could be used to reverse its fortunes. Comparing my own photographs with older pictures from its heyday illustrate the decline the town has experienced. This investigation into ‘past it’ coastal towns is what led into my later investigations into Amble, which has faced a similar slump. Employing an abstract and artistic approach to this stage of my work enabled me to approach the establishment of the brief from a different angle, in line with the core values of GAFIA. This way of working started me thinking about using ‘imaginary’ or visionary concepts as a springboard off which to base a project, and ultimately led to my “Bathing City” triptych of ink drawings.
A natural continuation of my research on ideas of retreat, pilgrimage and time from the primer led to a number of collages looking at the passing of time and the rose-tinted memories we hold of moments from the past.
Reimagining Whitley Bay as a new holiday location
Whitley Bay , now and then.
To culminate my Whitley Bay investigation I developed a conceptual masterplan for the town. Drawing from the history of the Spanish City theme park, the scheme saw a series of towers and piers expand the perimeters of the existing town. The idea behind these concepts was that by considering a much wider masterplan I might gain insight into themes or notions which could be explored at a smaller scale.
After much research I soon became disillusioned with Whitley Bayâ€™s suitability as a site, as its built-up nature detracts from its appropriateness as a place for a retreat. The urban decay that
initially drew me towards it similarly pushed me away. However, I took a lot of ideas from the time spent developing this work, and the themes of revitalisation through the introduction of a new communal architecture remained as the basis for my project. After re-evaluating I moved my focus up the coast to the slightly more rural town of Amble and began to look into possible activities that could act as a driver for my project.
Japan has a long history of bathing tradition
SOAK STEAM DREAM
R E A L I S AT I O N
The idea for my graduate project occurred whilst looking at an advert for an exhibition at the London Design Festival entitled â€œSoak Steam Dream: Reinventing Bathing Cultureâ€?. The exhibition by Jane Withers looked at the current zeitgeist for bathing revival throughout Europe and the U.K, and the benefits of communal bathing. Adopting the name I began to research both bathing traditions and rituals, and the rich history of bathing in Northumberland. This research helped me establish the spaces which I would have to include within my design, with the layout of Roman Baths becoming particularly key.
A B ATH I N G CI TY
Excerpt from my “Architopia” essay:
Studies of contemporary bathing indicate a subconscious connection has been made by society between the architectural forms used by the Romans and how bath architecture should look; circular geometry, arches and tiles have all become unequivocally associated with bathing spaces. Consequently, my ideas began to collate themselves into a tangible, albeit imaginary, architecture that used these historical motifs: A Bathing City. A trans-architectural, trans-historical amalgamation of Roman, Japanese, Turkish and Victorian bathing history where the population is transfixed by the idea of bathing. Their fictional
society itself is upheld by notions of cleanliness and is structured by their bathing rituals. The city is under constant flux, visible through the widespread scaffolding and the tiered shanty-like form of construction-uponconstruction. This enjoyable and imaginative method of investigation allowed me to discover ways in which my building may function: how could people move through the spaces? What might their experiences compose of? Inspired by Piranesi, as well as contemporary work coming out of the Bartlett, such as Jason Lamb’s Frackpool, ‘Bathing City’ is the first of a tryptych of ink on trace drawings I
created to represent and explore the historical research I had done for the project. This series soon became the framework around which the project is based. Each drawing gradually renders the building in a more realistic manner, moving from an entirely fictional city, to a combination of the city and the real site to finally become a more accurate drawing of building in situation with small influences from the city seeping in. The transition from concept to reality is a topic covered in my Theory into Practise essay, ‘Architopia’.
Piranesiâ€™s Via Appia
The process and order of bathing is integral to the design of my building and the layout of spaces. To this end I set out to research ancient bathing rituals, and how people would spend their time in Roman baths. The work of Eadweard Muybridge in capturing specific moments inspired me to look at the individual moments that would occur in the baths. A moment that became key was the transition from interior to exterior, whilst remaining in water. The idea of contrasting being sheltered and exposed in different manners became an important driver within the project, dictating the facade and pool formation.
SHELTERED / EXPOSED
ROMAN BATHS AT CARACALLA
1: Natatio (Swimming Pool)
2: Frigidarium (Cold Pool)
3: Tepidarium (Warm Pool) 4: Caldarium (Hot Pool)
5: Palaestra (Open Air Garden)
The study of Roman, Victorian and Japanese bathing rituals gave me an idea of the range of spaces suitable for a bath house. Defining characteristics from each type of bathing were also injected into the Bathing City series of drawings that went on to influence my design aesthetic.
A number of site specific drivers helped to define the brief. Whilst researching the current social fabric of Amble I discovered that a central community hub, the Dovecote Centre, had closed. This building facilitated the running of adult learning classes, childrens daycare and activity courses, so I decided to include a similar set of spaces within my design to continue to encourage community interaction within Amble. Whilst looking for a suitable site I also discovered a pair of existing shallow splash lidoâ€™s in an open grassy space in the east side of the town. The pools are fairly isolated, and it seemed appropriate to accomodate them within my design.
Secondly, the discovery of the well attended Annual Puffin Festival led me to include a space for holding this event, The Puffin Experience. By creating a home for the festival the building allows for a series of interweaving activities. Bathers may be tempted to learn more about puffins, and visitors to the experience may decide to go for a quick bathe after walking around the exhibits. Bathers may be tempted to visit the exhibitions whilst those visitors in turn may be enticed by the baths.
THE SITE: Amble stands as a major town within its locality. The public baths are designed to draw visitors from the immediate vicinity rather than Northumberland or the rest of the country due to limited travel connections to the town and more pressingly because the building doubles as a community centre and it is important that the inhabitants of Amble feel a specific, individual connection with the building. The public baths are designed as a focal point for the Amble community in addition to providing employment and economic benefit for the town. Rail and road provides transport for visitors to the area. The site stands at the most easterly part of Amble on a small, rocky peninsula that faces Coquet Island. It is this island which is inhabited by Puffins and this helped dictate the orientation of the building.
Surrounded behind by houses slightly elevated by the ground, and meeting the North Sea to the front, the building seeks to contort into these restraints.
ick-u Berw d Twee
Northumberland National Park
Site seen from the South
The main road of Amble runs like a spine from east to west, and it is at the easterly head of this line that the site is situated. The raised housing to the north and south of the site surround it like a jaw.
The restrictions of the site were a key driver for the project, with a defined shape being suitable for construction. The two existing splash pools lead into the centre of the site and it is from these this geometry that I begin to define my buildingâ€™s form.
Site access by foot
Sun path and weather
Barren & Dry
The site itself is extremely barren and dry, with no vegetation whatsoever due to itâ€™s exposed location. My scheme aims to introduce new microclimates within which lush gardens can be created by the inhabitants of Amble and the users of the building. As steam is used inside, it will be introduced outside through vents in a dramatic manner.
CONSIDERING A CIRCLE
SHATTERING THE CONCEPT
After early iterations of a circular form that continued from the existing splash pools I was unhappy with the outcome. Whilst a circular form complemented the existing forms it failed to incorporate enough of the site. I knew there must be a better way to both continue the circular motif and fit into the boundaries. After experimentation this developed into a literal shattering of the circular concept. Using a central radial point I was able to subtend lines around which I could plan my spaces, creating a circular form in negative rather than positive form. This was a surprisingly efficient way of dividing space, and also led to design of the main pools in the final bathing space as shards of glass.
Outlining a circular form through negative space
Semi-permeable â€˜inhabited wallâ€™
Dividing wall from central point
Shattered pools radiate from centre
“the architecture of the bath requires – and creates – a space of anti-conflict, anticompetition and antihierarchy.”
Exploring bathing at the human scale
G RA DATED P O O L : Preceeded by the washing of feet, this gently deepening pool gradually introduces the bather to the pools. 29°C 0 - 3m
F U N P O O LS :
A cascade of baths designed for the younger bather. A ‘funscape’ takes influence from the rocky landscape situated in front of the sea wall.
0.3 - 1.2m
SE N SO RY P O O L :
A relatively dark space illuminated only by a skylight from above, bathers can swim, sit in alcoves or listen to music that is played underwater.
MA I N P O O LS :
Three pools that differ in temperature: 35, 40, 45°C. Steam fills the space and limits the bathers view to the outside world.
1.5 - 2m
TI DA L P O O LS : Filled with sea water, these pools aren’t heated but allow the adventurous bather to swim out into the North Sea. 6-10°C 2- 4m
C I R CU LA R P O O L :
The central social point of the baths, it is here where the existing childrens splash pools meet the new scheme. Ledges around the pool give visitors the opportunity to sit and relax and enjoy the baths despite the weather.
Inhabitants on the higher floors should still appreciate they are within a bath house
The building appears to grow out of the site
Arches Boulogne, Antonini Darmon
Athletes Housing, Niall McLaughlin
The interdisciplinary aspect of my studio encouraged detailed design at smaller scales, and it was with this in mind that I created a small sauna booth to be situated in my design. Perched on the new sea wall the booth allows a handful of people to experience a sauna in complete isolation, drawing reference from my earlier interrupted ink experiment.
T H E ST E AM B OOT H
The booth is a simple wood frame construction, encased in copper sheet. Water is fed into the bottom of the booth from the sea water heat pump, where it is evaporated into steam and passed through in order to humidify and heat the space. Additional heating pipes appear throughout the walls. The singular glass window frames views out towards the sea, as the occupants peer
through the hot steam and look out over the cold water below. The booth also provides a warm alternative for those who wish not to brave the chilly tidal pools outside the building.
â€œBy the end of the Victorian era, for instance, Britain boasted more than 600 Turkish baths, with 100 in London alone; only a dozen now surviveâ€?
AMBLE PUBLIC BATHS The final iteration of my design presents itself as a long ‘inhabited wall’, that connects with a new sea wall built perpendicular to the existing, from which tidal pools radiate out towards the sea. The Puffin Experience encourages visitors to understand how important the preservation of puffins on Coquet Island is by engaging them with interactive exhibits. From a climbin puffin burrow for children, to live streams of the inside of the real thing on the island, visitors gain an insight into the life of a puffin.
the main activity occuring below and the building doesn’t become two separate entities. The visible baths are shielded by screens to maintain some privacy for the bathers. Copper pipe trees rise up through the space, creating an experience for users as they move through the space. Gentle heat radiates from them as they maintain the steam levels within the space, expelling excess through vents in the roof and pumping new steam in to complement that which is rising off the hot baths.
Upon entering the walkway from the Puffin Experience, the visitors can see down at certain points through the glass and steam to the baths below. This ensures that users of the spaces above the baths remain connected with
1. Plant Room 2. Open Courtyard 3. Access to first floor 4. Reception 5. Changing & W/C 6. Showers 7. Feet wash and gradated bath 8. Childrens baths 9. Sensual bath 10. Hot baths 11. Outdoor pool 12. Tidal pools 13. Existing splash pools 14. Viewing terrace 15. Communal space 16. Puffin Experience 17. Balcony 18. Coffee bar 19. Walkway
2. 4. 3.
8. 12. 10. 9.
1. Enter through garden courtyard and reception. 2. Change and lock up clothes. 3. Shower and wash feet. 4. Wade into gradiated â€˜beachâ€™ pool. 5. Swim into childrens play pool OR 6. Swim outside into circular pool. 7. Enter main hall and experience the differing temperatures of each bath. 8. Enter the dark sensual pool and listen to the underwater music. 9. Move outside to the tidal pools.
1. 2. 3.
6. 4. 5.
C B 18.
A: Information - Begin to learn about the habitat and daily life of a puffin. B: Play - Kids can crawl through a puffins burrow! C: Live - Constant streaming from real puffins nests on Coquet Island. D: Film - Educational films about the history of Coquet Island and the puffins who live there.
A MBLE PUBLIC BATHS
A number of key moments exist throughout the site. During the annual puffin festival a visitor might venture out to the viewing terrace to gain a better view of Coquet Island. Similar views can be had at the front of the walkway and telescopes are available at both points. The walkway itself holds a permanent exhibit on bathing in the central section and has two windows facing towards the south. A closed outer facade increases the curiosity of visitors to the site, drawing them through into the open courtyard which takes inspiration from the Roman Palaestra. The inner facade has a lot more openings, and the form of the building itself, combined with shielding vegetation creates a sheltered environment where bathers can relax comfortably.
A thicker outward facing wall is â€˜closedâ€™ with minimal fenestration, in contrast to the permeable inner wall.
The public baths are designed as a focal point for the Amble community in addition to providing employment and economic benefit for the town.
LAN DSCAP E P R O P OS A L
Atmospheric lighting models of the â€˜sensual poolâ€™, a dark space where the light changes in relation to the music being played underwater.
The Hot Pools
PL AN T
M O RO CO UR
W VI E
PUFF IN G AR
Y ON LC BA
T I H W US E H T ... BA
N OUR .. CO . Y MMUNIT
In search of another eureka moment, Archimedes decides to spend an afternoon at the new Amble Public Baths...
After finishing up the phonecall with his friend in the courtyard, Archimedes walks past reception towards the changing rooms. On the way he hears a mother call to her child in the splash pool. The receptionist smiles and lets him know that there is no cost for the baths, but that he should take extra care because there are no dedicated lifeguards on duty...
After changing in the mens Archimedes puts his clothes and bag in a locker, strapping the key around his wrist. As he showers he enjoys how the sunlight enters the space in shafts, cutting through the enveloping steam. Tropical plants sit in recesses, presumably preferring the sheltered, humid space to the brisk air flying off the North Sea...
Venturing outside Archimedes bumps into his neighbour, and talks for awhile whilst sitting on a ledge inside the bath. A mound of tropical plants separates him from the sea, but he can hear the waves crashing against the sea wall. Intrigued, he wraps herself in a towel and heads out towards the tidal pools. Perhaps heâ€™ll find his eureka there...
INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY With regards to ventilation within the building two systems were suggested during crits that were later incorporated into my design. Whilst utilising natural ventilation as much as possible in the non-bathing spaces it became clear that the heavy loads of heat and steam within the pools would require mechanical ventilation. This later led to my decision to have exposed utilities so as to make the users aware of the water and steam paths throughout the building. Furthermore, a heat recovery unit was added to the system to create an eco-friendlier design. A key element of the entire project was the sea water heat pump. The integrated technology report forced me to consider and research a multitude of ecological energy systems, and I resolved that it made perfect sense to employ this method for extracting sea water and amplifying its inherent heat. Whilst I would also have to use an additional heat generator for the pools
with higher temperatures, it would save a vast amount of energy through the buildings use. Similarly, the tidal pools require no heating so provide a immense â€˜freeâ€™ resource for use by visitors to the building. By considering technology in a fluid progression with the design process, not only does one ensure the design is viable, but ultimately a far more interesting and complete design will be reached. Through the integrated technology several decisions were made, which quite possibly may have remained unresolved.
The first part of the integrated technology submission was heavily influential on my continued design in several ways. It required me reflect on a detailed design side of my building, and to compare the stages I was at with their resolved technological counterparts. A large change was the shift from a load bearing grid system of numerous smaller glulam columns to a system of larger glulam beams that span the entire width of the building. The smaller columns were originally designed to create paths of movement through the spaces and between the columns, but this proved impractical as it would be difficult to change the layout in the future if the building changed uses. This actually opened up new opportunities within my structure, as I was able to push the baths right to the walls themselves, and to create much larger pools that were uninterrupted by columns. The column motif was recreated symbolically by copper pipes in the main bathing hall.
B U I LDI N G ST R U CT URE
All images drawn from ARC3013 submission
B U I LDI N G CO N ST R U CTION AN D MAT E R I ALI TY
Detail through glulam wall
Detail of the central roof gutter
All images drawn from ARC3013 submission
E N VI R ON ME N TAL STRUCTURE AN D ST RATE GI E S
Heat Recovery System
All images drawn from ARC3013 submission
ST U DI O SP E CI FI C T E CH N OLOGY
Average sea temperatures at Amble fluctuate between 6.6’C and 15.3’C. Extraction temperature needs to be at least 7’C.
The sea water heat pump is an integral element of my design. The sea temperatures are warm enough around Amble to make it viable, and there are numerous precedents of it being used for singular buildings around the U.K, such as the R.N.L.I Lizard lifeboat station.
All images drawn from ARC3013 submission
KEY: 1. Reinforced cast-in-situ concrete basin over insulation and vapor barrier. 2. Heated water enters from above. 3. Here used and excess water leaves. 4. An overflow grill surrounds the pools. 5. Insulated â€˜supply columnsâ€™ carry water from the ceiling to the pool, giving users an appreciation of the water cycle within the building. 6. Additional copper pipes remove and create steam.
Architecture BA (Hons) Newcastle University