Sunday, April 26, 2009


Sentou; A japanese style bathhouse.

My initial idea was to create a new activity on H
verfisgata, something to attract traffic to the street. I also wanted an activity that's new and would add something interesting to the flora of activities available in Reykjavík, which aren't all that diverse or many in downtown Reykjavík compared to foreign cities. The idea of a Japanese style bathhouse came from my own experiences living in Japan, where the bathhouses quickly became one of my favorite activity there. Iceland already has a rich bath culture, but nothing as diverse, eye pleasing and physically moving as the Japanese baths. By mixing the Japanese customs associated with bathing to Icelandic bath culture I wanted to present a familiar and popular past time in Iceland with a unique twist.


I chose the corner of Snorrabraut and Hverfisgata, half the property of the police station at Hlemmur, as my site. The location is unique in the way that it is the only place where the view to Esja is completely unobstructed, allowing a shakkei style view (Japanese term for framed or "borrowed" view) of the mountains while bathing. I also wanted to make the Hlemmur area a more interesting place to visit.


As there are no showers in the building people use the washing stations that consist of a low stool and a bucket in front of a mirror with a basin and shower head to wash with. Guests are required to wash thoroughly before entering the baths.
The bathhouse has many different kinds of baths, for example hot and cold tubs, green tea baths, mineral baths, jacuzzi baths and slightly electrified baths.

As with regular Japanese bathhouses all guests are required to bathe naked, and so it is segregated between men and women. The two sections are different and alternate between men and women every week, providing more variety in surroundings and layout.
The left section is a slope shaped hall, with washing downstairs and most of the baths spread between several levels, all with a view of the Esja mountain through a large window.
The right section is more complex and revolves around a circular flow through its two floors. It is windowless and only provides a view of Esja through a small outdoor area, the only one of it's kind in the building.





The slope was meant to create a grassy area for people to walk up and sit down and enjoy the view of the sea and Esja whenever they want without being guests of the bathhouse. It also has a view over Hverfisgata and the Hlemmur area. This presents a variety of possibilities of outdoor activities around Hlemmur, both in front and back of the building. One example would be concerts on the building rooftop or on the lot in front of or behind the building.
The big window inside the bathhouse and the outdoor area are shielded with walls covered with vegetation so people outdoor can't go peeping on the nude people indoors.




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