Portfolio Project Detail

The Guildhall Bathing Society Daniel Kleeschulte, Corey Phelps, Aylin Nazli, and Jack Mussett

COVID-19 emptied the urban fabric, gutted livelihoods, took countless people before their time, and has left us in a seemingly bottomless chasm of social distanciation. Through the necessary practice of mandated and elective social distancing, COVID-19 has laid bare a cracked foundation in both the spatial and emotional dimensions of interpersonal connectivity. The ease of communication afforded by modern media was already pushing us closer to people we had no proximity to in regular social situations and further from the people we were in real close contact with.

As vaccinations soar and new strains emerge, The Guildhall Bathing Society projects a future where we live with the remnants and risks of COVID-19 as a daily reminder of our privilege and duty to reconnect with each other. We know that our bodies are transceivers of social energy, which can heal, excite, stimulate ideas and creativity, and spur personal growth, and recenter our community. Our club is predicated on the social currency of trust, and our members are champions of that trust. We feel everyone has the right to experience closeness, true physical and emotional closeness, and we provide a scaffold of social interaction which offers choice to interact. The mechanism for that choice is our state-of-the-art bathhouse, a machine dedicated to the principles of Living Design and to the experience of interpersonal trust in an urban community.

The partially open air bathhouse offers a matrix of choice. This freedom of experience supports the intimate act of communal bathing with a series of spaces dedicated to the traditional bathhouse typology. Members self-regulate within their comfort distance to others. The bathhouse also offers members an array of new program types dedicated physical touch and social intimacy.

Three areas of bathing ritual anchor the space: the steam well, a warm bathing area, and a cold bathing area. These are augmented by auxiliary program elements such as sensory and massage therapy, as well as an expansive and secure sunken park. The park is the emblematic foundation of our commitment to clean, healthful urban environments. This ambition filters through all aspects of the operations of the bathhouse.

We see the future as a place where people can sit shoulder to shoulder with each other, rediscovering and remediating the foundation of trust beneath all communal interactions.