Design a health center with specific programs that include a swimming pool, basketball court and a gym. The site is located in Indian Point Park in Providence, RI.
The initial concept conceived for this project is "cleansing through circulation". It is based on rituals, religion and historic architecture such as the Roman bathhouses. I concluded that all cultures use three main elements to cleanse oneself: earth, water and air. The programs of the health center are then placed according to an adjacency chart I made which also responds to site conditions such as the neighboring sites, light, wind, privacy and elements of cleansing.
The entrance for the building suggests the importance of circulation from the street side. It not only strengthens the orientation of the exterior and interior of the building but also creates sense of place. It is the beginning of the sequence of cleansing through circulation. The path and circulation is designed with slopes and stairs to make one aware of the created environment. For experiential architecture, it is important for the user to be aware of the environment for it to succeed. To add to that, there are isolated and narrow moments when one needs to contemplate oneself and then large open spaces for contrast.
Earth is the first element I used to initiate cleansing. You can experience earth as you undergo changes in elevation through varying slopes that brings you underground. There the earth envelops you as the structure is made with natural elements such as stone.
You then transition to water as you travel on grade. You experience water by the shape of the hallway, which resembles water crashing on a surface. The sounds of water crashing on several surfaces also create a harmonic sound effect which induces relaxation. You also have the view of the infinity pool, which extends to the sea and its horizon.
Finally, you enter air by going up another level. You experience air simply by being elevated above the ground on a glass surface. You also have an elevated view of both a garden and the city, which heightens the experience. The hallway is also wider and taller when compared to the areas of earth and water, creating contrast.
The circulation itself is a unified/circular path that symbolizes the continuous act of cleansing. The circulation provides a public space befitting of the social function of cleansing, which brings people together. Even if the circulation is circular, the main shape and form of the entire structure resembles an arch, which was used in Roman bathhouses as the entrance. It was to create the impression of the streaming water flowing through the mouth of a cave from the center of earth.