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Botanical Baths

Part 1 Project 2013
Lewis Callen
University of the West of England Bristol UK
Taking inspiration from Constable and the unique natural qualities that surround Churchfields, Salisbury, the Botanical Baths and Garden re-establishes the green network of the river Avon. Embedded within the landscape, the reflected watermeadow landscapes filter the water to feed the Baths; thus re-establishing the dependency relationships that once existed on the site between man and land.

The botanical baths focuses on the relationship between the individual and the natural environment. It immerses the individual in the water that the plants grow in, allowing the individual to interact at even a microscopic level. No longer are you confined to a linear path that determines the route and speed at which you should travel throughout a garden, it’s a series of spaces where you can linger and interact at a more personal level to deliver a deeper and meaningful experience.

The baths are designed to be a combination of a Roman bath and a conservatory hothouse. Typically in a Roman Bath there were several different temperature baths. By combining the features of varying temperature baths, determined for human comfort and the concept of a hot house with different climates for plants, it is at the Botanical Baths that the two concepts can be homologated.

The movement though the baths from the road to the water is divided into varying levels of transparency and enclosure. The building is organized into a sequence of zones which are opened up to the individual as they traverse around or through voids which deceptively play with interiority and exteriority (nature and building). The voids cut the route and determine the passage until one reaches the main conservatory. In this way the bathers are graduated from a very open area, to an immersive space full of plants.

In the conservatory the baths are separated into three temperature pools which reflect differing climates and appropriate plant life. As a result the baths connect the rituals of bathing with naturalistic landscapes of plants to celebrate the relationship between nature, water and man.

Lewis Callen


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