Oak Forest Bathhouse, Central Coast, California

Intentions: The clients wanted a bathhouse to provide toilet facilities for people in the shrine room nearby and also for people staying in the three yurts clustered around the bathhouse.   Green materials and energy saving strategies were to be used whenever possible.

Functional Results: The roof pitch was angled to maximize solar gain on the south side, and draw in softer northern light through skylights on the north side.   The client did not opt to install panels at this time but plans to in the future.   Radiant in-floor heat was use to keep the temperature pleasant all year round.   Energy efficient lights, motion detectors, and automatic shut off light switches ensure that the lights won’t be left on for an extended length of time.   Reclaimed wood was used for the interior trim and durable non toxic Marmoleum brand linseed based linoleum was used for the floors.   Being a Buddhist center intent on mindfulness, the idea of the bathhouse was to provide an appropriate amount of privacy, but not too much so a person could “hide” in a spa like setting.   The four sinks in the main room, the two showers open at the top, and the fully enclosed toilets reflect this hierarchy of privacy.  Custom designed shelves and hooks are paired with each of the four sinks, providing storage for each retreat participant’s toiletries within the bathhouse itself.

Aesthetic Results: The exterior building trim, siding, and color match the other buildings on the property.   The building uses the golden mean proportioning system in plan and in elevation, making the space feel particular harmonious.  The black surfaces of vanity tops with white sinks play of the black and white lights, and the natural, reclaimed wood creates a warm feel.  The contractor and his crew were true craftsmen who took pride in their work, made great suggestions, and did a wonderful job with the finish work and the exterior porches and railings.

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