Thermal Baths - Mysterious structures and primitive machines

Associate Teaching Professor
ARCH 356 - Third Year Undergraduate Architectural Design Studio

Can architects design buildings and site conditions, which with daily running procedures and minimal long-term upkeep, that can age gracefully over 100 years in a remote environment? How can architects design buildings to embody an essence of mystery that can inspire people and generate intrigue?

This studio will examine the natural water sources that are abundant throughout Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho (a 300-mile radius from Bozeman, MT). We will analyze these water sources for their volume, flow rate, mineral content, temperature, and so on to determine how we can use this single source to feed and power a thermal baths compound in the middle of nature. We will design Primitive machinery for many uses, such as power generation, water distribution, water purification, and so forth.

The structures on the site will use simple methods for heating and cooling that can be run by a single operator, or just by the daily users. The site will be terraformed to build into the ground for its benefits like thermal mass and longevity. We will examine how ancient structures exhibit mystique and attempt to make some designs that can have brush-ins with these characteristics, either at first, 50 years, or 1000 years.

The studio will work with analog and digital methodologies that oscillate back and forth between the two to unstick process blockages and to push the design forward with intentionality. The primary working method will be a CNC milled light foam site model, porcelain clay, and modeling sticks; additionally we will use 3D scanning (photogrammetry), Rhinoceros 3D digital modeling, and digital rendering.

At the end of the studio each student created:
  1. a series of preliminary site and concept analysis
  2. a foam, clay, and sticks process physical model
  3. a series of atmospheric, digital renderings
  4. a final 3D digital model of your 3D scanned site, in position, and with all additional site and design elements
  5. a fictional narrative that explains your site, design, and mystique

Student Work