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Castlefield Spa

Part 1 Project 2008
Joseph Shepherd
Sheffield Hallam University, UK
This spa is a building that is designed to blend into the urban grain of Castlefield. It becomes part of the threshold between public spaces by attaching itself to an existing railway bridge and stretches rhythmically alongside it. Existing pedestrian routes under the railway bridge are maintained by bridging part of the spa over the walkway. The pools of the spa slot under the original arches of the bridge and the internal spaces are enclosed in a delicate aerogel skin that provides important insulation and allows daylight into the space. Internal therapy pods are prefabricated off site and are designed to slot into the building as and when they are needed.
Joseph Shepherd

This project was devised to explore architecture for wellbeing through the design of a health spa for the district of Castlefield in Manchester. The district has a rich urban character defined by canals, brick and iron railway viaducts and brick warehouses. Its social character is however less certain and thus the project suggests a spa as a civic focus to a rapidly growing local 21st Century population of city living around the edges of Castlefield. It invited proposals for a building type of our age and purposefully questioned the resource consumption inherent in spa facilities.

This project evidences a mature and light touch, offering strictly no more than necessary to allow the existing vaults of a railway viaduct to be colonised for bathing. Essentially it takes the form of a health-giving linear conduit, clinging gently to the arcaded walls, south facing, lithe, generating energy. New components are delicate, re-usable, adaptable and environmentally benign. Therapy is offered gracefully, barrier-free, oscillating between old and new, raw and exposed, and soft, veiled and glowing.

Mr Andrew Wilson
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