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Published: Saturday, January 06, 2007

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BAD - Public Bath Equipment

Architects Sabine Mueller and Andreas Quednau explore an innovative formal vocabulary within a sustainable framework to create not just a functional bathing unit, but a public landmark within the site.

By: SMAQ - architecture urbanism research

Architecture-Page | BAD - Public Bath Equipment by SMAQ
Detail of the wooden flooring and bench in the public bath.

Project Details

  • Project Name: The 'BAD' Public Bath Equipment
  • Client: Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany
  • Project Type: Infrastructural leisure equipment
  • Location of site: Solitude Palace Gardens, Stuttgart, Germany
  • Principal Designers: Sabine Mueller, Andreas Quednau
  • Construction Team: Ulrike Kube, Sarah Centgraf, Sabine Muller, Andreas Quednau, Herman Fellinger, Dieter Muller, Katrin Henke
  • Contractor: Hoess Design
  • Structural engineers: Florian Foerster, Steffen Stich
  • CNC-milling Contractor: Hoss Design
  • Hose Manunfacturer: REHAU
  • Fittings: Geka Karasto
  • Materials: ¾" garden hose, 38/5 mm transparent hose, brass fitting, and CNC-milled and oiled multiplex wooden board.
  • Total Built-up Area: 25 m2
  • Net Building Cost: €20.000
  • Date of commencement of project: 2004
  • Date of completion of project: June 2006

Architecture-Page | BAD - Public Bath Equipment by SMAQ
The public bath installed at the Solitude palace gardens near Stuttgarth.

The 'BAD' Public Bath Equipment is a temporal architecture situated in the highly frequented leisure landscape of Solitude Palace Gardens close to Stuttgart, Germany. The bath is conceived of a 1,000-meter garden hose that plugs via a hydrant into the hidden existing infrastructure network and which can carry enough water to fill a bathtub for up to two persons to take a bath. Arranged in countless loops, the elastic hose forms the surface of a screen that catches the sun, thus heating the water in the hose. The used water is released to irrigate the surroundings.

Architecture-Page | BAD - Public Bath Equipment by SMAQ
View of the hose woven to create the surface of the bath.

The system interprets ways of inhabiting and interpreting the urbanized landscape, based on infrastructural realities and leisure conventions. It proposes an alternative, self-empowered form of leisure which draws on the anarchic expertise of everyday knowledge (the warming up of water in a garden hose) instead of investing in capital-intensive technology (like teflon-wear and carbon fiber bikes). The design brings together for a brief spatial moment the circuits that have become antipodes of the contemporary environment: infrastructure and nature. Without dogmatism it makes use of both of them, releasing their multiple potentials and extracting pleasure from the appropriation of already existing systems. Pushed to an extreme, beyond the criteria of efficiency, the subversive gesture explored further on the tectonic level. The rigid and elastic material qualities of wooden slats and the garden hose respectively are played out against each other and reintegrated.

'BAD' Public Bath Equipment - Manual instructions [opens in a pop-up window - 112 KB image]

'BAD' Public Bath Equipment - Hose Weave [opens in a pop-up window - 75.3 KB image]

Architecture-Page | BAD - Public Bath Equipment by SMAQ
Left: The system employs natural heating techniques to regulate the water temperature. Right: View of the bath system in use at the gardens.

The project was supported by the Akademie Schloss Solitude and the Architekturgalerie Am Weissenhof with all the materials as well as the CNC-milling being donated by individual companies.

Credits

  • Text: Courtesy of the architect
  • Photographs: Courtesy of the architect
  • Compiled and edited by Varun M. Ajani

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