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Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

Australia Architecture News - Oct 27, 2021 - 12:43   1180 views

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

A communal bathhouse is redefined with this intimate and light-filled space in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne, Australia

The project, called Sense of Self Bathhouse, features earthy-toned backdrops, creamy walls, golden elements and natural materials that create a serene atmosphere for its users. 

The Sense of Self Bathhouse was brought into life with a collaboration between three Australian firms Chamberlain Architects, Hearth Studio and Setsquare Studio.

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

To create this communal bathhouse, the team converted an old warehouse in Melbourne’s inner-north into a new bathhouse, aiming to challenge the traditional communal bathhouses. 

Single-storey space consists of a large mineral bath, a hammam steam room, a Finnish sauna, a light-filled vegetated courtyard and a cold plunge pool.

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

"Healthy hedonism: Sense of Self Bathhouse redefines the wellness experience with an inclusive, immersive and design-led model for self-care," said the team in a project description.

The 275-square-metre space tries to establish a new relationship with naked or near-naked body, healing and space, inviting guests to better connect with themselves and their immediate physical world. 

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

Aiming to go beyond the current definition of ‘wellness’, an idea was largely defined by the term ‘beauty’ and translated spatially as a solitary activity within a stark white environment, according to the team. 

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

"The brief for SOS was to create an empathetic space that engaged in a new idea of well-being – community, acceptance and restoration. An immersive environment that encourages healing, rest and connection."

"Taking the notion of empathy, the design placed an emphasis on the aspirational task of designing for every ‘body’," the team explained.

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

The team removed all boundaries in the floor plan based on gender or physical ability. The scheme includes communal change rooms, communal toilets (with only ambulant wc’s)  and accessible communal bathing with a variety of entry options. 

The architects conceptually shaped the layout around the sequence of rituals embedded in the bathing experience. 

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

"Prioritizing the relationship between body and physical space, using design to guide users through the order to which a bathhouse experience unfolds," the team added.

"Looking to draw from, rather than replicate, existing bathhouse cultures around the world, the design extrapolates ‘bathhouse’ to its very essence; being that of water." 

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

The concept is derived from materials and form from understanding water as both a movement and a driver for growth, healing and nourishment. "Refraction, still, power, buoyancy and erosion" are the main elements that define physical components within the space. 

The space incorporates decorative glass and digital projections that play with the refraction of light, while the water wall and flowing fabric curtains represent the power of water. 

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

The architects used concrete, travertine and sandstone materials that are cast and carved in such a way that they are encouraged to wear and chip as they would in the natural environment. Vegetation embodies water as restorative. 

"This design aims to define and cultivate communal bathing in Australia," the team continued. 

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

Communal bathhouse features earthy tones and warm materials in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne

Floor plan

Project facts

Project name: Sense of Self Bathhouse

Architects: Chamberlain Architects, Hearth Studio, Setsquare Studio.

Location: Collingwood, Melbourne, Australia. 

Size: 275m2

Date: 2021 

All images © Martina Gemmola

All drawings © Camberlain Architects, Hearth Studio, Setsquare Studio.

> via Chamberlain Architects, Hearth Studio, Setsquare Studio.